‘Find my iPhone’ app helps in arrest of Basalt home invasion suspect

by Chad Abraham, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

The son of a Basalt woman who police say was robbed at gunpoint in her home Wednesday tracked his mother’s stolen iPhone using GPS technology, helping to lead to the arrest of a Parachute man, court documents show.

Michael Charles Hawkins, 24, was arrested Thursday and advised Friday in Garfield County District Court in a separate case, said Jim Leuthauser, chief deputy district attorney in Garfield County.

Eagle County has jurisdiction over the Basalt crime, for which Hawkins and another man, who remained at large Friday, face six felony charges: aggravated robbery of an at-risk adult, theft of more than $20,000 from an at-risk adult, burglary, menacing, false imprisonment and criminal trespass.

The 75-year-old woman told police that she had just gotten out of the shower around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday and was blow-drying her hair when she heard a loud crash in her home on Riverside Drive.

She “started to exit her bedroom [and] was met by an unknown male who pointed a small handgun at her,” says an arrest warrant written by Basalt officer Philip Martin. “[She] stated she asked the unknown male who he was and he replied, ‘Shut up, shut up.’”

Another man in the home was covering his head and face with a hoodie sweatshirt, Martin wrote.

The armed man asked her if she had any money, and the woman told police she gave him $70 out of her purse. The other man kept his face covered as they continued to gather her belongings, the warrant says.

Before leaving, they allegedly ordered her to sit on her shower’s seat, told her not to call the police and ripped her phone line from the wall.

The woman later called police from a friend’s home and told authorities that the thieves had taken an iPhone, an iPad, a Rolex watch valued at $20,000, a sapphire-and-diamond ring valued at $24,000, and other jewelry items, the warrant says.

An hour after Martin interviewed the victim, her son told police that “he was currently tracking his mother’s phone with the Apple Find my iPhone app,” the officer wrote. “[He] told me he was currently seeing the phone in Rifle.”

Another officer also began tracking the phone as it moved on Highway 6 and 24 west toward Parachute. The police chief there told Martin that a man who lives on the street where the phone was located was recently arrested for burglary. Police believe that man is also the accomplice in the Basalt burglary.

A search warrant was issued for the man’s home in the 100 block of South 2nd Court and executed Thursday.

In the room that Hawkins apparently rents from the man, police allegedly found the phone, which had a matching serial number, on a windowsill and a .38-caliber Bersa handgun under a dresser.

An arrest warrant has been issued for the other man, who is also 24 years old.

Hawkins was being held Friday in the Garfield County Jail on a $26,550 bond.