A PHONE stolen from a ladies loo was tracked to a group of people sheltering from the pouring rain in the small hours of the morning.
Modern phone tracking technology enabled police to track the iPhone and catch the perpetrator.
Wodonga woman Sophie Moyle, 20, stole another woman’s purse and iPhone from Albury’s One Nightclub about 3.30am on February 15.
The victim went to the ladies toilet and left the items on a bench because she believed a friend was looking after them.
But Albury Local Court has heard how Moyle swooped in an opportunistic theft putting the items in her handbag as the victim was in a cubicle.
When she came out, her purse and phone were gone.
The woman went straight home and started to search for her phone through the “find my iPhone” application and called police.
Calling at her home, they noted the tracking indicated the phone was at the corner of Hume and Townsend streets.
Officers went there and saw people sheltering from rain under the entrance to McDonald’s.
A woman in the group quickly hid a white phone in her handbag when she saw the officers.
Police spoke to group members who said they had been at One Nightclub and they were told about the theft of the phone and purse.
They were asked whether any of them had the items, but all denied the theft despite being told about the phone tracking.
One officer said to Moyle: “What about that phone you put in your handbag as we pulled up?”
She was told that police intended to search her handbag.
Moyle reached inside her bag, took out the phone and purse and handed them to police, who returned it to the victim.
“I didn’t even think. I just put it straight into my bag,” Moyle said .
Moyle, of Ruby Street, pleaded guilty to theft and magistrate Tony Murray fined her $700.
“These mobile phones are very expensive,” Mr Murray said.
“The lady is lucky she got it back.”
Moyle admitted she probably would have kept the items if she had not been apprehended.