Tile tracking device found on Brookings woman’s vehicle

ByLance T. Lee

Jun 10, 2022

An 18-year-old woman in Brookings found a tracker on her car while working on it with her father, and now she and her mother are trying to educate others about the risks of being tracked.

Angelina Jennen, 18, of Brookings, said she was working with her father on his car on Sunday when her father noticed a black sheen in the area between the hood of his car and the windshield.

“He looked over there and saw it, he thought it was a paint chip until he looked at it,” Jennen said.

A black Tile tracker was found on the vehicle, she said. Jennen’s father asked if she knew she was being followed, much to her surprise.

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The family then called the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office to examine the device. The owner could not be found, but he could apparently still track the device if his phone was within a few hundred feet of the device, Jennen said.

sergeant. Kevin Murfield of the sheriff’s office said this was the second incident he had received a report of someone finding a tracking device on his vehicle. Although Jennen’s incident is different.

In the first incident, an Apple AirTag was placed in a community member’s vehicle while he was away, Murfield said.

Murfield said he didn’t know how much Jennen might have been tracked with the Tile tracker.

“When it comes to owner tracking capability, I have mixed results when researching Tile product capabilities,” Murfield said. “With Apple AirTags they are able to track movement, but with Tile there seems to be some range limitation.”

Tracker capabilities differ by brand

Tile’s website says their trackers have a Bluetooth range of 250 to 400 feet. Outside of this range, an owner can still track the device’s last known location, according to the website.

Murfield said he’s still researching the capabilities of Tile products, but the most common tracker used by law enforcement in the county is the Apple AirTag.

“With AirTags, if someone has an iPhone and an AirTag that does not belong to them is placed on their vehicle, they will receive a notification on their phone letting them know the AirTag and that they have tracked them” , Murfield said.

Jennen said that regardless of the device’s capabilities, it scared her to find the device. She and her mother posted a video to Facebook on Monday that has since been shared more than 4,000 times.

“It was so easy to slip him in there to a place where I would never look up and fall,” Jennen said. “I decided to post this video just as a warning, I guess it can easily happen and go unnoticed.”

Using trackers to keep tabs on unknowing people can lead to criminal charges, Murfield said.

In South Dakota, a harassment charge can be issued and if the person is known to the victim as a boyfriend or girlfriend, the charge can also come with a household tag, Murfield said.

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“We encourage our citizens to carry out the normal security checks of their vehicles, headlights, taillights, tire tread, etc., but also to examine easily accessible areas outside of vehicles,” Murfield said.

Police in Colorado, Georgia, Michigan and Texas have reported AirTags being used in domestic harassment cases and to steal cars, according to USATODAY.

Jennen said she believed she knew who placed the tracker on her car. No arrests were made regarding the incident Friday morning, Murfield said.

“It was something as small as a 50 cent coin, and I never noticed it. So be careful, be aware of your surroundings,” Jennen said.

Do you have a story idea for your community? Email journalist Alfonzo Galvan at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @GalvanReports.



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