$5 million worth of stolen tools recovered thanks to Apple's AirTag — 12 secret storage facilities had around 15,000 construction tools

A portion of the tools recovered in a recent stolen tools case in Howard County, Maryland
A portion of the tools recovered in a recent stolen tools case in Howard County, Maryland (Image credit: Howard County Police Department)

Howard County, Maryland, investigators have recovered approximately 15,000 stolen construction tools thanks to an AirTag device tracker. Officials announced the recovery in a May 23 news conference. The tools are believed to have been stolen from retail stores, businesses, vehicles, residential properties, and construction sites.

Howard County Police Chief Gregory Der announced the preliminary outcome of the investigation. Der described it as “one of the largest theft cases not only in Howard County but in this region.” The stolen tools greatly impacted many victims, incredibly individual contractors “who have lost work because of their tools.”

The investigation began in late January when an AirTag tracking device in a stolen tool led officers to a storage unit in Elkridge, Maryland. The victim who led detectives to the first cache of stolen tools was from Virginia.

“This case sends a clear message: we will not tolerate criminal enterprises operating here in Howard County,” Der said. “I want to thank the detectives from our Special Investigations Division and all the officers who have helped on this enormous and unprecedented case. They have put in thousands of hours and have many more ahead of them. They will see it through to the end.”

Following the initial discovery, detectives carried out search warrants at 12 locations, 11 of which were in Howard County. They recovered around 15,000 stolen tools, a quarter of which were still new in their boxes. It’s believed the property was stolen from victims in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

The total value of the stolen tools is estimated at between $3 million and $5 million. The department has already identified more than 80 victims, but the investigative team thinks there could be hundreds more, if not thousands. The Howard County Police Department has set up an online form potential victims can use to recover their property.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said during the news conference that the investigation displays “the tenacity of our police department” in combating crime and protecting the county’s residents.

Officials urge anyone with information on the case to contact police at (410) 313-STOP (7867) or by email to HCPDCrimeTips@howardcountymd.gov.

Freelance News Writer
  • Metal Messiah.
    Well, that's good on part of Howard County cops, but how is this news related to PC hardware/software/mobile, or anything related to tech for that matter (not including Apple's AirTag here for time being) ? :unsure:

    I mean to say, gimme news of stolen/smuggled CPUs, GPUs, and SSDs. Then we gonna talk ! :D
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Metal Messiah. said:
    Well, that's good on part of Howard County cops, but how is this news directly/indirectly related to PC hardware/software/mobile, or anything related to TECH for that matter ?
    AirTags.
    Reply
  • Metal Messiah.
    USAFRet said:
    AirTags.

    Just edited my post. Not including air tags.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Metal Messiah. said:
    Just edited my post. Not including air tags.
    The AirTags are the whole reason for 'tech related'.
    Reply
  • Notton
    Whatever happened to Tile? The company that Apple allegedly ripped off to make their airtags.
    Reply
  • parkerthon
    Notton said:
    Whatever happened to Tile? The company that Apple allegedly ripped off to make their airtags.
    Still very much alive. If you’re an android user, airtag isn’t an option. Also, it’s not that Apple ripped off Tile that is the company’s gripe, it’s that Apple uses proprietary hardware for it to work way better than Bluetooth. Apple naturally won’t open that up, so they give their native devices an unfair advantage over 3rd party ones. This is how Apple has always been and they are hardly the first company to use this tactic. End of the day, a company will always ensure they get an advantage when it’s their platform they built. The only reason they work with other companies is it is more beneficial to them.
    Reply
  • PBme
    Metal Messiah. said:
    Just edited my post. Not including air tags.
    So you want to know what the article has to do with tech if you remove the key tech aspect of the story??
    Reply
  • rangerstyle
    PBme said:
    So you want to know what the article has to do with tech if you remove the key tech aspect of the story??
    Aside from mentioning that it was used, there's no mention of how long it took to find, if there were any difficulties...NOTHING.

    It's like making a story saying I was able to breath better today because there was oxygen in the air, but not why it was easier to breath.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    rangerstyle said:
    Aside from mentioning that it was used, there's no mention of how long it took to find, if there were any difficulties...NOTHING.

    It's like making a story saying I was able to breath better today because there was oxygen in the air, but not why it was easier to breath.
    "The investigation began in late January when an AirTag tracking device in a stolen tool led officers to a storage unit in Elkridge, Maryland."

    You want a day by day accounting of what went on?
    Reply