Schmuck of the Week

Michael Hawkins and James Ward, alleged schmucks, busted thanks to Find my iPhone app

Pretty much everyone in these United States understands that smartphones are essentially tracking devices. Even photos taken with them include GPS coordinates, as fugitive antivirus king John McAfee learned when authorities tracked him down in Guatemala this week. An iPhone led to the busts of Michael Hawkins and James Ward, too -- although Ward swears he's innocent.

In late November, according to the Aspen Times, a seventy-something woman was blow-drying her hair at her home in Basalt when she heard a loud crash -- and when she went to investigate, she found herself face to face with two men. One of them brandished a gun and told her to be quiet while the other pulled his sweatshirt over his head to hide his face while snatching and grabbing a watch and assorted jewelery valued at more than $40,000, plus an iPad and an iPhone 5.

The two are then said to have ordered the woman to sit down in her shower and stay there for five minutes or they would come back and kill her. When she finally got up the nerve to look around, they were gone.

The cops were called, but the big investigatory breakthrough came thanks to the victim's son, who'd activated the Find my iPhone app on the missing gadget. Police soon followed its signal to a home in Parachute, more than 65 miles away.

The home belonged to Ward. There, officers found the iPhone, and the missing jewelery, as well.

Ward was soon arrested -- but in an interview with the Times, he cast the blame on Hawkins, who was also busted in connection with the crime. His story: Hawkins, the father of two kids with Ward's younger sister, sometimes stayed in the house and must have left his ill-gotten gains there. For that reason, Ward insisted that he was a victim of mistaken identity.

A credible claim? Well, the victim failed to ID a photo of Ward in a snapshot lineup -- although the reporting officer notes that she lingered over his pic before choosing one featuring someone with a similar look. Also, Ward was already known to the cops due to a burglary in another nearby town, Rifle.

This evidence countered by what Ward says are eight signed statements from co-workers and supervisors, who supposedly say he was working when the Basalt robbery took place.

His job? He's employed by a company that services port-a-potties.

Whatever happens, Ward will presumably be in deep shit. Look below to see a CBS4 report on the incident, followed by Ward's mug shot.

More from our Schmuck of the Week archive: "Marcel Maldonado, schmucky car thief, escapes from cops, then gets busted sitting in driveway."
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