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Austin Crime Victims Fighting Back

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:07 PM CDT

Two separate victims of home-invasion robberies did the detective work themselves and tracked down their stolen property. After a string of burglaries in West Austin’s Tarrytown, four in one week, residents are taking their safety into their own hands and fighting back against crime.

Robyn Malloy’s house was robbed in the middle of the night, while almost all of her family was inside asleep. 

“My 22-year-old daughter came home around 12:30 a.m. and noticed that our garage door was open and my car was gone. She came into our room and said, ‘where is your car?’” recalls Malloy. “Not only had my car been stolen, but someone had entered the house, and taken my husband and I's iPhone as well.”

But for the Malloy family, getting robbed is just the start of the story.

While she waited for police to arrive at her house, Malloy did some detective work of her own.

“And by the time the police had gotten to our home, we'd actually pulled up iCloud and were tracking my phone to the east side,” said Malloy.

Using Apple's software and the tracking device in her cell phone, she led police right to her car.

“On a Google map, you could actually see a blue dot travelling east on 6th Street,” she said, amazed at how well the technology worked.

That “blue dot” (her iPhone) eventually stopped at a Super8 Motel on East 12th Street. Police were able to recover her car and return it to her that night.

Malloy says it wasn't so much about finding her stuff, but about fighting back.

“When someone comes in your home while you're there and you're sleeping and you feel that violated, you kind of take steps to do whatever you can to get your stuff back.  I don't really care about the stuff at all, I care about my family. But at the same time you can't just be a victim.”

Just a few doors away from the Malloys, another family also tracked down their stolen property themselves.  This family had packed their car the night before, preparing to take their daughter to college early in the morning.  When the family woke up, the car, and all of the college supplies, was gone. 

What the robber left behind was a receipt for the El Gran Marcado, a flea market on the east side. That Saturday, the father went to the flea market, to see if any of his stuff was being sold there.  Instead, he found his entire car, still loaded with the college supplies, parked at the market.  Police tried to catch the suspect, but after a short car chase, the suspect got away on foot.

Police have made no arrests in either case.  APD had no comment on the investigation.

By Karen Kiley.Austin Crime Victims Fighting Back


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