Musician AJ Oliveira uses the Find My device to locate iPad, track down a stolen car and recover $4,000 worth of stolen music equipment

TORRANCE, Calif. — A California man was forced to innovate to track down his stolen car by pinpointing the location of his iPad that was in the car. He then bombed music stores across the region until recovering thousands of dollars worth of stolen equipment.

AJ Oliveira is from Brazil. He moved to Torrance, California with his pregnant wife and two young girls.

Oliveira says he is a musician and performs to earn money for his family. He arrived with his family on April 9th. Three days later the unimaginable happened.

Oliveira says a nice friend lent him her car and a guitar so he could start performing, but that Monday night after a performance, he parked the car in the locked garage of his apartment and left the gear in the car so he could store his could children upstairs to bed.

He intended to take out the equipment but eventually fell asleep. The next morning the car was gone.

The equipment in that car was worth more than $4,000, according to Oliveira. His wife’s passport in the car was also stolen. He immediately called the police.

Oliveira checked surveillance footage of his home and found a man and woman he says stole the car.

The police and Oliveira tried to find a way to locate the vehicle.

“He said, ‘Is there a tracking device in the car that we can drive with?’ and I said, ‘No, there’s no tracking device that I know of’, and then I said, ‘Oh!’ And it clicked, my iPad was in the car,” Oliveira said.

Using Apple’s “Find My” feature, Oliveira and detectives were able to track the vehicle’s location as far back as the town of Lawndale, but its equipment was still missing, no longer in it.

Oliveira says he can’t just sit and wait, so he called music stores to warn them his gear was stolen and someone might be trying to sell it.

He says he contacted Guitar Center headquarters to inquire about his speaker, which he says is worth more than $1,000.

“He said, ‘Well, we have one, but it’s in Lawndale.’ He says, ‘You have to call this store,'” Oliveira said.

Oliveira called and found his speaker, which he got back, but warned the store manager that the suspects might try to come back and sell the rest of his equipment – and that’s exactly what happened.

“Torrance detectives continued their investigation to identify the suspect and were notified later in the day by Guitar Center that a suspect was attempting to sell additional stolen music equipment,” the Torrance Police Department said in a statement to Eyewitness News. “To help, LASD deputies responded and arrested the possible suspect.”

Officials say detectives on April 13 linked a detained female suspect to the stolen car incident. Torrance police did not identify the suspect but said she was arrested on charges of grand larceny and receiving stolen property in prison.

“I feel terrible. I feel paranoid,” Oliveira said. “I feel like there’s a blot on the beautiful picture I had of South Bay and Torrance.”

Oliveira’s determination helped him recover most of his gear, but his friend’s guitar is still missing. He starts GoFundMe to raise money to repay his friend.

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Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Musician AJ Oliveira uses the Find My device to locate iPad, track down a stolen car and recover $4,000 worth of stolen music equipment

Dais Johnston

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