Food for thought for aspiring child spies: there are probably good use cases for turning an Apple Watch into a tracking device. Related advice for adults: do not—I don’t know how many times I have to tell you—use an Apple Watch to conduct a massive drug-related robbery.
The Department of Justice has stated that the leader of a seven-person crew of tech innovators used an Apple Watch to track and rob a suspected drug dealer of over $500,000. In a motion to oppose the leader’s bail request, DOJ attorneys write that the group stuck the device on the dealer’s bumper and tracked him to Hartford, CT. The group apparently did not consider the fact that prosecutors can subpoena all their cell phone records, and the victim’s, and that of the watch.
So they received charges on several counts, but not for nothing, points for creativity.
The scheme allegedly went like this: 30-year-old leader Darren Lindsay registered an Apple Watch to his AT&T plan. On July 18th, 2020, Lindsay and two collaborators tailed the car to a hotel parking lot in Hartford, broke the window, and looked for drug money. Apparently finding none (to the possible drug dealer’s credit, they didn’t leave a few hundred grand in the parking lot), the team left and then returned for an overnight stake-out. Prosecutors claim that the following day, the whole gang rolled up, shoved the victim in an SUV, and punched him in the face until he handed over his hotel key card. One member, Indigo Grant, allegedly smuggled a bag containing about $500,000 from the room, and they dropped the victim in the nearby town of New Britain. A hospital later diagnosed him with a concussion, and he received five staples in his scalp.
Like El Chapo before them, they tripped over their own big balls. Lindsay uploaded a private image of a massive pile of cash to his iCloud account, and collaborator Antoine Koen took a similar phone pic displaying his face in the frame.
The prosecutors add:
Even more concerning is that the defendant’s iCloud account also contains an image of the victim’s driver license, [emphasis: federal prosecutors’] which was geotagged at a location in Connecticut during the time of the robbery.
The document contains even more evidence, including toll records, text threads discussing the watch passcode and the stake-out, updates on whether the news had reported the robbery, divvying up the cash, and, in the prosecutors’ telling, “having things go more smoothly during future robberies.” In the words of Darren Lindsay, “...next time I’ll make sure it goes right the first time to avoid any bullshit.”
In July, a grand jury charged the group with various counts. Lindsay faces seven, including conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, and firearms offenses, which amount to a mandatory minimum sentence of 24 years in prison.
Eh well, you live and learn. Peruse the evidence below.