How Can Law Enforcement Find Stolen Electronics?
If you fear your smartphone or other electronic device was stolen or several were removed from your store, you may want to talk to Iowa City Police Officer David Schwindt. Schwindt, along with developers Jeff Bromberger and Peter Scott, invented a brand-new tool to help law enforcement officials find stolen electronic devices of all types. It’s called L8NT.
Schwindt started thinking about this new concept as law enforcement members began performing wireless network audits while servicing some search warrants to ensure they seized all devices.
“During the wireless network audit, we could see all the active devices listed by MAC (Media Access Control) address,” Schwindt says. “I imagined a system where the device didn’t already need to be present; where the software would constantly be looking for the device and then help locate it once the device was detected.”
The L8NT operating process is simple. L8NT provides officers and victims with instructions to learn a device’s MAC address even after it’s stolen. An officer then enters MAC information for the stolen device. During patrol, the officer will receive a notification should the device be nearby. A directional antenna lets the law enforcement officials pinpoint a location that’s so accurate they can locate the device in a certain house or apartment. The advantage to L8NT as opposed to off-the-shelf apps is it can locate any Wi-Fi device.
Schwindt, Bromberger, and Scott have begun to distribute the tool as a product.
“We have completed beta testing with 29 agencies across the U.S.,” Schwindt says. “Local, state, and federal agencies participated in our beta testing. We moved to general availability about one month ago.”
Though Schwindt is not a self-declared technology geek, he does like to hear about the latest developments and has created other apps for law enforcement.
Schwindt has developed other applications for law enforcement, but L8NT is the first intended to address a more global problem.
“The previous applications gave me a good understanding of how officers use software, what user features are important, and how to develop based on feedback.” he says.
Schwindt’s partners handled the software development while he led the testing and customer delivery. The process leveraged each of their strengths to build a product that met the needs their customer base expressed.
Although the folks at RACOM aren’t selling the software, they’ve connected with David.
“They have been tremendously supportive in meeting with me and offering to help spread the word of our newly-available technology,” Schwindt says. “I look forward to the day when we are established and can return the favor.”
Schwindt thanks RACOM for helping him and L8NT get off their feet.