The fatal shooting of 18-year-old Jeremy Cook in London, Ontario after he tried to retrieve his lost cell phone with a tracking app has caused officials to warn of the risks involved in using an app to track stolen devices.
“It’s certainly extreme,” London Police Const. Ken Steeves told The Canadian Press. “No one ever would have predicted or even thought that a loss of life would have resulted from a loss of a phone.”
Cook allegedly left his phone in a taxi by mistake and traced it to a parking lot using a geolocation service.
Police said Cook approached a car with three people in it. Then, one person got out of the vehicle and as the car began to pull away Cook grabbed onto the driver’s side door.
Shots were subsequently fired and Cook received multiple hits. He was later found dead outside a nearby plaza after succumbing to the fatal injuries.
Police found the abandoned car nearby, where it appeared to have crashed into a fence and then a telephone pole before the three suspects fled the scene. The missing cell phone was still inside vehicle.
This is the first time police in the area had to deal with such a violent case stemming from a missing cell phone. And they warn of the dangers of tracking stolen phones and confronting thieves.
“The major danger is that you have someone who has committed a crime, and when confronted … you don’t know what their reactions might be,” said Constable Victor Kwong of the Toronto Police Service.”
Instead, he said, if people are using a tracking app they should wipe the data from their phone remotely. After that’s completed they should report it to the police – and if it’s not stolen, but lost, then they should only receive it through an exchange in a public area.
“We have no problem with people saying ‘Meet up in front of a police station’ to do these things. That usually will deter a lot of criminality,” Constable Kwong said.
According to HuffPost Canada, while many are shocked by Cook’s death after tracking down his cell phone, mobile trend analyst Sanjay Khanna states that the teen’s actions were not entirely unreasonable.
“Efforts by individuals to track their mobile devices and smart phones are linked to the extent to which we feel emotionally connected to our mobile device,” said Khanna, who’s a mobile phones analyst with information technology market intelligence firm IDC Canada.
He also noted that these days a person’s cell phone will contain a large amount of their personal data, which many people are quite attached to.
“Our attachment to our data is so strong that it might prompt people to not be as cautious as authorities might wish us to be,” he said.
The investigation continues.
[Image via CTV News]