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Man tracked stolen truck with Apple AirTag; thief allegedly pulled a gun; owner shot, killed him, police say

Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

The owner of a stolen truck tracked down the thief and killed him after the thief allegedly pulled a gun, police say.

"I know that it’s frustrating, but please do not take matters into your own hands," San Antonio Police Public Information Officer Nick Soliz said in a press conference, as reported by KSAT.

"It's never safe, as you can see by this incident," Soliz also said.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner identified 44-year-old Andrew John Herrera and ruled his death a homicide. The ME's office says Herrera died from a gunshot wound to the head, the outlet also reported.

The incident began Wednesday when Herrera reportedly stole a truck from a home in north San Antonio, KHOU reported.

The truck owner reported the theft of his vehicle to the police around 1 p.m.

Unbeknownst to the thief, the truck owner and two other family members used an Apple AirTag to track the location of the truck. They used the popular tracking device to locate the truck at a shopping center in southeast San Antonio about 20 miles away, according to CBS News.

The three family members traveled to the shopping center and located the truck. One family member "attempted to contact the suspect on the side of the truck," KSAT reported.

Police say the precise details of the confrontation are unclear, but that the suspect may have pulled a firearm before he was shot by the man who confronted him. Soliz says police believe the only person who fired shots was the person who tracked down the stolen truck.

It is not clear whether the shooter will face any charges, KSAT reported in an update Saturday.

What is an Apple AirTag?

An Apple AirTag is a small, coin-shaped device used to track objects like keys, purses, backpacks, luggage, or even cars. AirTags are a bit larger than a half dollar at about .31 inches thick and 1.26 inches in diameter.

According to Apple, since the device's launch in 2021, users have "written in to share countless stories of AirTag being instrumental in reuniting them with the things they value."

Though the devices have been instrumental in helping users reunite with their lost objects, they are also used in nefarious ways.

The company says they have been "working closely with various safety groups and law enforcement agencies" to help guard against unwanted tracking.

"Based on our knowledge and on discussions with law enforcement, incidents of AirTag misuse are rare; however, each instance is one too many," the company said in a 2022 statement.

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