Cell phone app aids in armed robbery arrest


With the help of a popular cell phone app, some South Bend police officers were able to quickly track down and arrest three armed robbery suspects Tuesday night.

It started around 5:50 p.m. in the 1800 block of East Calvert Street.

Police say a 20-year-old Goshen man let two other men who had contacted him about buying his iPhone inside his car.

"That rouse only lasted a minute or two and then the suspect in the car drew a gun, demanded cash and a cell phone and the victim in the case questioned it just for a moment and was hit in the face twice with the gun hand," said South Bend Police Capt. Phil Trent.

When the victim was hit with the gun, it discharged.

Trent says no one was shot, but the victim handed over his cash and cell phone.

By the time police arrived, the two suspects had fled the scene in a car driven by a third person.

But, they didn't get too far.

"Very quickly the first responding officers used their ingenuity and figured there was potentially a way to track these individuals with the GPS in the cell phone," Trent said.

The officers punched the victim's cell phone information into the popular "Find my iPhone" app, which allowed them to track the movement of the suspects.

They initially found them near the intersection of Calvert and Scott Streets.

"They made contact with a suspicious vehicle that fled immediately out of the area and then a brief pursuit ensued," Trent said.

The three suspects were eventually stopped near the intersection of Kendall and Indiana.

18-year-old Dominique Sanders and a 14-year-old male were arrested on a preliminary charge of armed robbery.

The driver of the car, 20-year-old Vanessa Olivarez, was arrested for resisting law enforcement by flight and assisting a criminal.

Sanders has been booked into the St. Joseph County Jail three other times on the same charge of possessing a weapon on school property. He remains behind bars.

Olivarez was arrested in 2011 for possession of marijuana. She's been released from the St. Joseph County Jail.

Trent says the quick arrest wouldn't have happened without the officers' quick thinking.

"It was the officers using the tool that was given to the suspects by the victim in this case, but the officers knew exactly what to do," he said.


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