Victim cracks theft case with smartphone

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SANDPOINT — A Sandpoint man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reduced theft charge in a case that was cracked by a smartphone.

Sean Brendon Mahoney pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court documents.

A resident in the 200 block of Euclid Avenue reported a vehicle burglary on Dec. 18, 2010, according to a Sandpoint Police report. A Motorola Droid wireless phone, snowboard and a pair of goggles were taken from the man’s sport utility vehicle.

The Internet- and GPS-enabled phone contained a software application that is activated when the device becomes lost or stolen. The owner used the app and a laptop to track the handset to a dwelling in the 100 block of Fourth Avenue.

Police obtained a search warrant after the stolen snowboard was positively identified through a window, the report said. Inside, the stolen phone and goggles were recovered.

The apartment also contained two other stolen snowboards, several holiday checks that were apparently pilfered from a neighborhood mailbox, drug pipes and marijuana seeds and stems.

Mahoney, 22, was charged with misdemeanor drug and paraphernalia possession and two counts of felony theft by possession of stolen property. In a trilateral plea agreement between the state, the defense and the court, one felony theft count and the pot possession count were dismissed. The paraphernalia count remained intact, while the other felony theft count was downgraded to a misdemeanor.

Judge Justin Julian ordered Mahoney to serve 30 days and perform 16 hours on the sheriff’s labor program, court records indicate. If Mahoney satisfies all the terms of his sentence and year-long probation, the charges can be wiped from his record.

Mahoney’s defense counsel, Paul Vogel, cited Mahoney’s cooperation with police and willingness to identify and testify against his alleged accomplices as supporting reasons for a binding plea agreement in the matter.

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