App on stolen phone reveals suspect's face to owner

- Two cell phones will be returned to their rightful owner after an anti-theft app took a picture of a suspect as he was trying to get into one of the phones.

"The victim had an app on it called Lookout," said Sheriff Grady Judd. "It is so nice when suspects take a picture of themselves for us."

Judd said last Wednesday, Michael Buckley, of Sanford, accidentally left his phones on the counter at a convenience store on Spirit Lake Road.

The clerk asked a customer if the phones were his. He lied. 

"He says, 'Hey, you left your phones here.' (The suspect says), 'Oh yeah, I did,' and takes them, and walks out."

Lucky for Buckley, Lookout takes a picture whenever someone tries too many times to guess the passcode, and sends it to the real owner's email address.

"You're a fool," said Buckley.

Once deputies put the picture on Facebook, a tip rolled in.

Eric Phelps, 40, of Winter Haven, had already been arrested the day after the phones were taken for violating probation and driving on a suspended license.

When he was booked into jail, he checked in three cell phones. Two belonged to Buckley.

"I have some pictures of my grandmother who passed away a couple of years ago on the phone," said Buckley. "I can't replace those pictures."

The sheriff said it's likely the guy didn't even realize the app took the pictures.

"It is clearly evident that the phone is much smarter than he is," said Judd.

Finding Buckley's cell phones was a cinch, thanks to Lookout.

"I can't wait for the day that they create this app, so that when it takes his picture it shows the address to the county jail, kind of like, here's the directions, just go ahead and turn yourself in," said Judd.

Phelps will have several charges added onto the long list he already faced.

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