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iPhone helps nab suspects

Published 7:58pm Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cell phone technology led Escambia County sheriff’s deputies to three suspects who have now been charged in a home invasion Monday in Atmore sheriff’s deputies said.

Timothy Lavon Johnson, 26, and two juvenile suspects, all of Atmore, were taken into custody Monday afternoon only hours after they allegedly broke into the Atmore home of Escambia County High School teacher Andrea Chance, damaging her property and stealing items worth hundreds of dollars – including an iPhone the victim used to track them down.

“I was watching where they were all day through an app that shows me where my phone is at all times,” Chance said. “I could tell the deputies where they were and what turns they were making. At one point they were in Florida and then they were on Robinsonville Road.”

The iPhone also had a hand in determining the window of time during which the suspects allegedly broke into Chance’s home.

“They came in through my garage because I guess it was easy access,” Chance said. “It happened between the time I left for school, at about 7 a.m., and 10 a.m.”

Although Chance did not make it home until well after school let out at 3 p.m., she and sheriff’s deputies are sure of the time of the break in.

“We have a witness that stated that Johnson tried to sell him one of the iPhones taken from the house at about 10:30 a.m.,” Investigator Jerame Conn said.

Also taken from the home was a laptop computer, jewelry and a game system, all of which has been recovered, but Conn said a second laptop, as well as three television sets, are still missing.

Thanks to the technology on Chance’s phone, the suspects themselves are not missing.

“We knew what kind of vehicle Johnson was driving,” Conn said. “We stopped him at the intersection of Highway 31 and Highway 21.”

Conn said all three suspects were charged with felony burglary in the third degree and theft of property in the first degree. Johnson was also charged with possession of a controlled substance after deputies found synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, in his vehicle at the time of the traffic stop.

Conn said Johnson also had four outstanding warrants.

“He had three FTAs (failure to appear in court) and a charge for eluding an officer. A deputy had him cuffed during a separate incident and he fled on foot.”

Johnson was transported to the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton. Both juveniles were turned over to juvenile detention officers and taken to the Baldwin County Juvenile Detention Center in Bay Minette.

Conn said the investigation is ongoing.

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