For many, life without the benefits of modern gadgets would be difficult, if not unbearable. But there have always been critics of technological advancement. British novelist and scientist C.P. Snow, who gave the famous Cambridge “Two Cultures” lecture about the growing rift between humanities and science, summed up both viewpoints during an interview with the New York Times in 1971: “Technology, remember,” Snow said, “is a queer thing; it brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other.”
Emmanuel Jerome would probably agree.
The 23-year-old resident of the British village of Newsome (pop. 900), apparently attempted to use his iPhone one evening to illuminate a home he and others were burglarizing in the nearby town of Marsh in West Yorkshire. Instead of turning on the flashlight, however, he reportedly started the video camera on his device by accident, recording the entire raid. Jerome and his crew left the residence with property worth thousands of pounds, the Daily Mail reported.
Police, who arrested Jerome after he allegedly tried to rob three other homes, discovered the incriminating footage on his phone. Despite the incriminating evidence, Jerome reportedly maintained his innocence. His lawyer, Martin Sharpe, argued that although his client had been convicted for burglary several times as a teenager, he had not raided any properties for five years. Sharpe added that Jerome has a wife expecting the couple’s first child. Judge John Potter refused to let that information sway him, however, sentencing Jerome to 44 weeks in jail this week for what he deemed “acts of selfishness” that included stealing jewelry, cars and cell phones, the Daily Mail reported.
“Significantly, in my view, camera footage of the invasion of that property was captured on your mobile phone,” Potter said. “You, in my judgment, were an important member of the team that attacked that property on those occasions.”
This isn’t the first time iPhones have betrayed thieves. Early this month, ABC affiliate News 10 reported that a Sacramento woman assisted police in arresting the thief of her purse and iPhone when she activated a GPS tracking application on her device. A similar incident occurred last year when the application iGotYa on a Queens woman’s iPhone snapped a photo of a thief and sent it to police when he tried to unlock her phone.