DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Dallas police say a man raped a woman, then used her cellphone to send her family messages.
A police report shows officers wanted to track the phone to find their suspect Sunday morning after the attack, but were told it could wait until Monday.
The 20-year-old victim was picking up snacks at a 7-Eleven on North Akard around 6 a.m. Sunday when she told police a man offered to walk her home.
She refused, but told police the man followed her anyway, grabbed her, pulled her into a loading dock area, and raped her.
Afterward, the victim ran naked into traffic where she flagged down a driver, who helped her call police.
The police report shows the attacker stole her iPhone and used it, “texting (her) relatives phone for some time.” Sources tell CBS11 the messages he sent were explicit.
According to the report, patrol officers, “knowing the suspect still had the cell phone”, made an attempt to “ping” it for its location “right after the incident took place”.
“They called (a sex assault detective) who stated that she would get the warrant required to ping the phone on Monday.”
“I get called at home quite often in murder cases, rape cases, especially when they’re hot on the trail of someone,” said Dallas County Judge Lena Levario, who was unsure why police waited to track down this phone.
A sergeant in charge of sexual assault investigations told CBS11 since the victim was no longer in imminent threat, it wouldn’t meet the criteria for a warrant.
He also said the phone didn’t have it’s “Find My iPhone” feature turned on to allow GPS tracking.
University of North Texas Professor Bill Buckles, a surveillance specialist, said the phone could still have been traced.
“It’s impossible to be invisible from the cell phone towers,” he said.
Professor Buckles says, even if the GPS is turned off, cell phone carriers can determine the area the phone is in by seeing which cell phone towers are picking up its signal.
“It is straightforward, mainly because it’s done so frequently,” said Buckles.
He said it would take several hours, though, for a carrier to single out a phone in order to begin tracking it.
Dallas police have not said what happened to the victim’s phone to prevent them from attempting to track it more quickly.
They did say as of Tuesday afternoon, they have not identified a suspect in the case.
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