US policeman suspended, arrested after using Apple AirTags to stalk ex-girlfriend

Apple's AirTags
Since their launch last year, Apple has consistently updated the tracker's safety measures. Photo credit: Getty Images

A policeman in Miami has been suspended and arrested after using Apple's AirTags to stalk his ex-girlfriend.

Javier Magarin, 27, was relieved of his duty last week after being charged with misdemeanour stalking and the illegal use of a tracking device, according to the Miami Herald.

It came after a terrifying set of events which culminated in an AirTag registered to Magarin's email address being found wrapped in heavy tape inside the bumper of his ex-girlfriend's car.

Since their introduction last year, Apple has introduced more safety measures to try and stop the coin-sized trackers being used for illicit means.

That has included making warning tones louder and sending notifications to phones saying an AirTag unliked to their account was nearby - both of which played a part in this case.

Other companies, like Tile and Samsung, also offer similar sized trackers, intended to be used to find misplaced everyday objects.

According to the arrest report, the couple broke up in March this year, with the woman hearing an alert from an AirTag in her car within hours of Magarin moving out.

However, she was unable to find the device and the policeman denied planting one.

The sound persisted for days, according to the arrest report, while Magarin kept denying he was tracking her.

"So the woman parked her car at a friend's home in Coral Gables, without telling anyone, and left in another car with a friend," the Miami Herald reported.

"Magarin, according to the report, began peppering her with phone calls telling her he knew her car was there - suggesting he was tracking her using the AirTag.

"When she returned to the home, the report said, she saw Magarin parked in his truck across from her car."

He admitted tracking her and said he had removed the AirTag - but lied and kept on monitoring where she was. The policeman was also apparently upset his former girlfriend had changed her Instagram password.

She kept getting alerts about an AirTag in her car and was finally able to find it under a floor mat in the boot, at which point she begged Magarin to leave her alone.

"He responded via text by saying that he did not care because his life was already over," the report said. 

That didn't stop the policeman from harassing her, sending jealous texts and continuing to stalk the woman.

"Magarin allegedly posted a photo on Instagram of a hand holding a Glock pistol with the caption: 'I'll do it in style for you,'," the Herald reported. 

The policeman continued his harassment, however, allegedly logging into her personal email and cancelling a scheduled flight. 

Then, at the end of April, the woman got another alert on her phone about another AirTag near her. She could hear the beeps but couldn't find it so drove to a police station to report the stalking.

Detectives found it inside the rear bumper, with subpoenas revealing it belonged to Magarin and was registered to his email address.

Earlier this year Apple released a statement which said unwanted tracking was a long-term issue in society and it had taken concerns seriously with the AirTag's design.

"We've become aware that individuals can receive unwanted tracking alerts for benign reasons, such as when borrowing someone's keys," Apple said.

"We also have seen reports of bad actors attempting to misuse AirTag for malicious or criminal purposes."

"Through our own evaluations and these discussions, we have identified even more ways we can update AirTag safety warnings and help guard against further unwanted tracking," it continued.

"We have successfully partnered with [police] on cases where information we provided has been used to trace an AirTag back to the perpetrator, who was then apprehended and charged."