APD officers randomly help local family in pursuit of missing cell phone

One local teen will have quite the tale to tell after he helped some Austin Police Department officers in a pursuit for his dad's missing cell phone.

Thanks to the amazing technology of "Track My iPhone" a dad and his two sons were able to keep track of the moving cell phone, which led them all the way from Barton Creek Mall through the streets of Downtown Austin, to 20 blocks East of I-35. They randomly got the expertise and help of some officers along the way.

Pat Hazell and his two sons left the mall, did a little grocery shopping when Pat finally had the moment when he realized he lost his phone. "I must've left the cell phone in the seat but wasn't aware of it. My younger son said to me, 'dad just use the find your iPhone app' and I didn't even know what that was,” he said.

"I don't know if it even occurred to him that it was an incredible piece of technology,” his son Tucker said.

So the tracking pursuit began.

“It took us on Mopac, it took us to Zilker, then we began to get in heavier traffic in SXSW area,” Hazell said.

That’s when the trio found APD Asst. Chief Jason Dusterhoft, "I was out patrolling on the bicycle and I got flagged over by a gentleman.” With both kids phones almost dead and the hustle and bustle of SXSW in full swing, the person with the phone almost got away.

“He said 'well hang on, maybe we can help you,' he gave us a portable charger, or a handy pack or something which we hooked onto the phone to keep it to continue tracking,” Hazell said.

Then happenstance happened again. Asst. Chief Dusterhoft said they ran into some colleagues of his, "Just by chance we found two property crime detectives who were amazing, they grabbed the phone, grabbed the kid and went off on the golf cart.” Tucker said he jumped right into action “I handed my phone to one of the officers, and we just took off and we were going through crowds of people, across the streets and under bridges and we ended up on the other side of the city, it was pretty crazy,” he said.

The suspect now believed to be on a bike, was moving more quickly about 20 blocks East of I-35, they believe they found him. "The officers said ‘Do you have a phone on you?’ And the officers said ‘Can I see it?’ Took it out of his pocket, it was a black phone and he says ‘Is that a case?’ And it turns out it was the leather case that my dad has on his phone. So I knew that was it and he handed me the phone,” Tucker said.

With the cell phone back in the hands of dad, “Everyone knows how important it is. Your cell phone has everything, your pictures, your addresses, you phones, your addresses, so it was a relief,” Hazell said.

“Hopefully he will become a police officer later, he was a great detective helping us out,” Asst. Chief Dusterhoft said, along with his a once in a career moment, “I don't think I have ever seen a pursuit chasing a bike with a teenager on the back finding a phone.” 

This story ends, but will be remembered for a lifetime.

“It became more of a crime scene action film. Which is fun for me in a way,” Tucker said.

The person who had the phone wasn't taken into custody and isn’t facing charges. He told police another man gave him the bike and the phone, so there was no way to know if he did actually steal it or the bike.

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