Northampton lawyer tracks down stolen iPad to suspect’s front door

Dean Parnell
Dean Parnell

A lawyer who had his iPad stolen in a bar, later turned up on the doorstep of the shocked suspect after tracking the device to his home using a sophisticated Apple app.

Quick-thinking Dean Parnell, from Northampton, was left on his own when police repeatedly refused to help him find the £500 computer, which was packed with personal information.

Mr Parnell, who works in Birmingham, had the item stolen from Bacchus Bar, near New Street station in the city, on Friday night.

He called into an Apple store and using the tracker app, saw the item was heading to Water Orton, in North Warwickshire.

But after rushing to West Midlands Police to ask for help, he was told nobody was available until the next day.

Fearing the battery would run out and he would lose the tracker’s signal, Mr Parnell decided to go to Water Orton to look for the iPad himself.

He managed to narrow his search down to four houses, and after trying three without success, the stunned suspect opened the door at the fourth house. He handed over the iPad without question.

Mr Parnell, aged 45, of Dallington, Northampton, a partner at the Sydney Mitchell law firm, said: “It was about 10.15pm when I started knocking on doors. When I knocked on the fourth, they looked like they recognised me from the bar. I think they were a bit embarrassed by it.

“They were like rabbits in the headlights. They seemed really shocked that I had tracked them down. It was a nice, middle-class area and they were both middle-aged, middle class and with a big house.

“West Midlands Police rang me on Sunday and their first words were ‘you have received a shocking service.’

“I guess with hindsight I am more upset at the lack of interest from the police rather than the person who took my iPad. I accept police were probably very busy on a Friday night, but they offered no support or interest.”

Mr Parnell decided not to press charges and the suspect was given a “stern warning”.

Superintendent Danny Long, from West Midlands Police, said: “I accept that on this occasion the standard of service received by the victim fell short of that he should have expected from West Midlands Police.

“Based on the information available from the tracker app, officers should have been dispatched as soon as possible to attempt to recover the property.

“I will be reviewing this matter, addressing the issues raised and ensuring any learning is put in place as a result of this being brought to our attention.”