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How an East Peorian tracked down her stolen belongings

Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 9:55 PM CDT
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EAST PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - An overnight theft Wednesday caused panic for an East Peoria woman after her spare car key was stolen. But, her Bluetooth tracker led her to the exact spot her stuff was dumped.

Home surveillance video showed a suspect getting into a car parked outside an East Peoria home.

“He ended up getting in both our jeeps and our truck,” said East Peoria resident, Karen Hidden.

Hidden said it happened early Wednesday morning in a neighborhood off Highview Road.

“It didn’t make any loud noises it didn’t even get the dogs to bark,” said Hidden.

The suspect ended up getting away with a few of Hidden’s belongings.

“He got good pens, receipts, some salt and pepper packets and my spare key. All I cared about was my spare key,” said Hidden.

But what the thief did not realize was they were being tracked the whole time.

Hidden had a ‘Tile’ tracker on her spare key. It’s a Bluetooth device that helps people find things they may have misplaced, like keys or a wallet.

“When I came to realize my spare key had been stolen as well, I started watching the tracker app,” said Hidden.

She then tracked her key tag down a few miles away to a dumpster off Washington Road in East Peoria.

“I called the cops again and they were kind enough to actually come back out,” said Hidden.

Hidden says police had the dumpster unlocked and found a pile of what was believed to be stolen belongings.

“The other people who recognized their stuff were able to go to the police station and collect their stuff as well,” said Hidden.

Store owners in the parking lot of the dumpster said they did not have security video of the incident. East Peoria Police said this was an ongoing investigation.

Now Hidden says if she has learned one lesson -

“It doesn’t matter what neighborhood you’re in lock your car doors,” said Hidden.

And she’s thankful her family is safe.

“My kids didn’t get hurt, I didn’t get hurt, my husband didn’t get hurt, so,” said Hidden.

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