After police find no evidence of AirTag in theft, man takes apart car to locate it

There is quite a twist to an ongoing news4 investigation as we show you how far one man went to prove that his car was being tracked.
Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 12:50 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2022 at 7:43 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Kevin Johnson knew it was a drastic move, but the Nashville man was determined to find out if an Apple AirTag had really been used to steal his car.

“I took the back door apart myself,” Johnson said.

Johnson took the step after Metro Police told News4 Investigates they did not think an Apple AirTag had been used to steal his car, despite him hearing the pinging of the device and receiving warnings from his iPhone alerting him that someone was tracking him.

A spokeswoman for Metro Police wrote in an email to News4 Investigates,

“Our auto theft unit did not have any evidence to suggest an air tag was used in this case.”

Even after Johnson got his stolen car back, he continued to get the alert on his iPhone that someone was tracking him.

Johnson found a little slit in the weather-stripping where he suspected that an AirTag could be slipped in his door.

He watched a YouTube video on how to take apart a car door and disassembled his own to look inside.

“At first I stuck my hand in and I was digging through the door and I wasn’t finding it,” Johnson said.

Johnson also recorded his search on his phone.

The video shows on a small ledge inside the door was a small circular shape: an Apple AirTag.

“It was a pretty good feeling to find it and get it out of the car,” Johnson said.

Once Johnson found it, he knew he could tap it close to his phone, revealing the serial number of the AirTag, which he then turned over to police who said they would work with Apple to confirm who owns it.

“Initially it was a little bit frustrating but also understand it’s a little out of (Metro Police’s) purview to take a car apart,” Johnson said.

News4 Investigates requested three times for an interview with Metro Police but were denied each time.

When asked why News4 Investigates’ requests had been denied, a spokeswoman wrote,

“Our Surveillance and Investigative Support Unit said they are still researching more about AirTag technology.”

Johnson said he wants to know if the man charged with stealing his car is also responsible for slipping the AirTag inside.

“If it’s not them, then we’d like to know who it was and why they were tracking us,” Johnson said.

News4 Investigates did ask Metro Police if people suspect an AirTag has been slipped into their car, is it up to civilians to take their own cars apart?

A spokeswoman for Metro Police said at this point they encourage people to take their cars to body shops or, ultimately, do what Johnson did: learn how to take a door and take it apart.

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