SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — The “Find My iPhone” application led a former “American Idol” contestant and a school security officer to a mother who allegedly stole the singer’s cellphone during an event at an Orange County elementary school.
Bertha Avalos was arrested Thursday after she reportedly took singer Todrick Hall’s iPhone 5 while he was performing at Hazard Elementary School at 4218 W. Hazard Ave.
Hall had placed his phone, which was in a wallet-case, on a school bench around 2:30 p.m. while he was signing autographs after he and several others performed for the principal’s retirement.
“Not only was this my phone, but it was also my wallet. My identification, my credit cards and I had $400 in cash in the wallet,” he said.
Hall, who was a semifinalist on the 9th season of “American Idol,” discovered his phone was missing and reported it to a school security officer.
The men tracked the phone through the “Find My iPhone” app, which allows users to locate the device using the phone’s GPS. They ended up at a grocery store located at Harbor and Garden Grove boulevards in Garden Grove.
Hall then recognized a student from the school.
At first, he confronted the young boy, but it was the kid’s mother, Avalos, who turned over the property.
“The school is very familiar with this mom. She actually is a volunteer there and everyone knew her by a first name basis, so it was shocking to everyone,” said Hall.
Hall reported the incident to the Santa Ana Police Department, and Avalos was taken into custody and booked on grand theft charges.
The singer said he downloaded the app after his previous cellphone was stolen.
“It’s really sad that stuff like this happens to people,” he said.