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Man who shot police officer was tracked using the ‘Find My iPhone’ app

Most people think of the Find My iPhone app as a means of finding a lost phone, but it can even be used to catch armed robbers. Early in the morning of September 23, 2013, Robert George Speedy and Jake Watson entered the Arundel Tavern on the Gold Coast of Australia with a machete and rifle. The two men ordered the staff to turn over the cash on hand, which totaled over $40,000.

Both Speedy of Labrador and Watson of Varsity Lakes were arrested shortly after and charged with one count each of attempted murder, three counts of armed robbery, and 14 counts of deprivation of liberty. The attempted murder charge was on a police officer no less. And why are we bringing this up over two years after the crime? Because some interesting information was revealed during the trial that is taking place right now in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

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Turns out the two thugs didn’t think $40,000 was enough, so they also stole an iPhone which belonged to one of the tavern’s employees. This employee was smart enough to activate the Find My iPhone tracking app on a computer. This app is generally used in situations where you might have misplaced your phone, but it also happens to be very handy when someone steals it, and in this case, when armed robbers stole it.

The police were able to track both Speedy and Watson to a nearby yard of a home in Parkwood. Sergeant Gary Hamrey along with his police dog Biff confronted the duo, who were behind a shed. Instead of giving up, Speedy shot Hamrey in his left cheek from three to four meters away with a bullet that passed through his jawbone before exiting behind his ear.

Sargent Hamrey and his partner fired on the assailants, and one of them hit Speedy in the hand before the two men fled. They were later captured, and Speedy’s DNA linked him to the attempted murder. Thankfully the shot wasn’t life-threatening and Hamrey is doing well.

Related: 18-year-old who tracked down lost phone is slain trying to get it back

Speedy pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder charge, and was hoping to get away with a plea of guilty to a lesser charge of malicious act with intent, but prosecutor Phil McCarthy isn’t buying it. The trial started today and is expected to last about five or six days.