A student took matters into her own hands when her Ford Fiesta was stolen from outside her home – by using an Apple AirTag to track it down herself and documenting the journey on .
Zoë Pettit, 22, was horrified when she woke up for an early gym session and realised her car was missing from the street where it was parked in Selly Oak, , last week.
Helpfully she had tucked an Apple AirTag, a tracking device that can be traced via phone, into the lining of her boot after fellow students advised her about a spate of car thefts in the area.
So when the business student discovered her car had been stolen, she and two university friends set on a mission to find it – and were successful within a matter of hours despite police reportedly failing to have any luck.
Zoë Originally from Norwich, Norfolk, explained: ‘Every morning I just double check it’s there because you see quite a few posts from people saying their car was stolen overnight.
‘I looked up the road and I thought I was going crazy because I couldn’t see it.’
Her car was missing from the street where it was parked in Selly Oak, Birmingham, last week
Panicking, University of Birmingham student Zoë searched the surrounding streets, questioning if she had perhaps parked it somewhere different and it had slipped her mind.
But she couldn’t see it anywhere.
‘I went onto my phone and checked the AirTag – and I see that it’s seven miles away from where I am,’ she said.
Zoë continued: ‘I ran back to my house and I was like ‘girls, my car has been stolen’.I was quite frantic.
‘We rang the police, and in all fairness to them they were very helpful.
‘They assigned someone straight away and there was an officer driving to where the AirTag was.’
As the tag showed the car was moving, a cop reportedly tried to track it down for a few hours but couldn’t see it.
In the end police gave up the search, she says, leaving Zoë with no choice but to accept defeat and report it as stolen to her insurance provider.
Zoë decided to take matters into her own hands – against the advice of her parents
She used her Apple AirTag, a tracking device that can be traced via phone, to pin down the car’s whereabouts
She said: ‘The police were really helpful and did as much as they could.It was about midday at this point, and I found out at nine o’clock my car had been stolen.
‘My dad was getting ready to call up my insurance company and tell them it was stolen at this point basically.
‘A couple of my housemates came home from their morning lectures, and one of the girls said that she had got her car with her – so why didn’t we just go and try to find it?’
She added: ‘My parents were like ‘do not drive to the AirTag, whatever you do.If you have any inquiries about where and how to use eVDen EvE nAKliYAt, you can call us at the site. Just leave it’.’
However, the girls went anyway, driving half an hour to Saltley, evDen EvE NakLiyaT an inner-city area to the east of Birmingham.
She said: ‘At first we couldn’t find it, we drove around for EvdEn eve nakLiYAt about 20 minutes and I was just thinking this is bizarre.
‘In the end I just thought it’s not there, maybe they chucked the AirTag out of the car, let’s go.’
But a chance left turning as they were leaving the estate led the girls right to the missing white Ford – although its plates had been changed.
‘I pressed my car key and it unlocked, I freaked out.I was like ‘Oh my God it’s my car!’
The student could not believe it when she spotted her car – though the registration plate had been changed
The friends celebrated with a McDonald’s on the way back home
Zoë says she called the police who came to assess the situation as the car was close to a residential driveway.
Detectives reportedly said it was safe and the girls were allowed to take the car back – celebrating with a McDonald’s on the way home.
Zoë said her beloved first car ‘sustained a few injuries’, as thieves had cut her steering wheel to remove the steering lock – and stunk it out by smoking drugs inside.
But she added that she was ‘chuffed’ to have her car back – although she does feel ‘uncomfortable’ knowing that a stranger was driving it around.
Zoë said West Midlands Police are currently investigating the crime.
A spokesman for the force told MailOnline: ‘We were called on 31 January after a white Ford Fiesta was stolen in Birmingham. Fortunately, EvDEN evE NAKliyaT the car’s owner had a tracker inside the vehicle and was able to track down its location.
‘The car had appeared to be in a location in Birmingham, but when officers attended, it was no longer there.
‘Subsequently a different location was identified by the owner, who went there herself and evdEN Eve NakliYAT took back her car.
‘Officers supported her in recovering the vehicle and are continuing to investigate the theft and identify suspects.Anyone with information can call 101 or use Live Chat on our website quoting crime number 20/13098/23.’