Texas sheriff warns would-be 'Find My iPhone' detectives about going to Richmond man's doorstep

Any future strangers at Scott Schuster's door may face trespassing charge, Sheriff Eric Fagan told Action 13.

Brooke Taylor Image
Friday, April 7, 2023
Sheriff scolds Apple over leaving 'Find My iPhone' glitch unfixed
Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan is echoing a Richmond dad's call to Apple to fix a false 'Find My iPhone' ping that he says puts lives at risk.

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- ABC13 first shared a story earlier this week about random strangers knocking on a man's door in Richmond for years because of what the homeowner calls a glitch on the "Find My iPhone App."

The ordeal has now gained national attention since airing Tuesday, but Apple still hasn't responded, or at the very least said whether they will look into the matter.

Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan, who saw ABC13's report, said he was so shocked and concerned that he informed his patrol units and dispatchers, just in case anyone called about the address.

Still, he says it is a tech issue and the software giant needs to step up and do something.

"Apple needs to do more about this," Fagan said. "Please come out and check on this. This is your expertise. Mine is criminal and keeping our public safe here in Fort Bend County."

Fagan added that Apple doing nothing puts a family's safety in jeopardy.

"I would ask them to come out and see what they can do. It should be taken seriously. You are putting innocent lives at risk," he said.

The homeowner, Scott Schuster, has doorbell footage of nearly a dozen people throughout the years showing up to his front doorstep because their lost phones were traced to his address through the app.

Fagan said he was shocked to see these people knock on the door of the home of someone who they believed stole their iPhone.

"I am concerned about citizens going out and trying to do an investigation over a stolen phone," Fagan said. "Luckily, they went to the home of an innocent person, a law-abiding citizen. You're putting yourself at risk."

According to the sheriff, anyone who does this could also be arrested for trespassing.

"They need to know they can be arrested for criminally trespassing at this gentlemen's home once he tells them that he doesn't have the phone and tells them to leave. And if they stay there, and we get there, and he told them to leave, they can be arrested," the sheriff warned.

Schuster, who has two young children, has expressed concerns for their safety, telling ABC13 all it takes is the wrong person to show up at his doorstep, angry, believing he stole their phone.

"I want it fixed," Schuster told Eyewitness News on Tuesday. "My kids will sleep more peacefully at night. My daughter had a hard time sleeping after we had that incident."

There have been other high-profile device pinging errors elsewhere in the country, with at least one that brought armored vehicles to a neighborhood.

In 2021, body camera footage captured a Denver police SWAT team raiding the home of a 77-year-old woman in Colorado over a false ping on the app.

Denver officers believed she had stolen guns connected to a car theft after tracking a stolen iPhone to her address using the Find My app. That woman later sued the lead detective.

ABC13 has tried contacting the software giant since Tuesday. Someone called back, so we know they are aware of the incident. Still, no one has said if they are going to fix the issue, or at the very least, look into the matter.

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