A Florida police officer is accused of stalking his former girlfriend and placing a tracking device on her vehicle, WPLG-TV reports.
Javier Magarin, 27, allegedly admitted to placing an Apple AirTag on the woman’s vehicle hours after the woman broke up with him in March and moved out of the home they shared together.
The victim told investigators that she would receive text messages from Magarin telling her that he knew where she was, or asking questions about where she was located. Sometimes he would just show up without warning, according to the television station.
The victim noticed a faint beeping sound while she was near the car, which alerted her to the presence of the tracking device.
Magarin later admitted in a text message to using an AirTag to track the woman. Authorities found an AirTag device concealed with tape attached to the undercarriage of the woman’s vehicle, according to WPLG-TV.
The officer, who joined the Miami-Dade Police Department last year, has been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of an investigation, WSVN-TV reports. Magarin is facing criminal charges of stalking and illegal use of tracking devices and is presently under house arrest.
Miami-Dade Police Department Interim Director George A. Perez said his department is taking the allegations seriously.
“It is discouraging to learn that one of my officers was involved in an off-duty domestic incident which led to his arrest, Perez told WPLG-TV in a written statement.
“His actions are not aligned with our core values of integrity, respect, service, and fairness. The arrest of any police officer weighs heavily on our profession, and the community we swore to protect.”
On Wednesday, WPLG-TV went to an address in Miami associated with Magarin. A man who said he was the officer’s father told the television station that his son did nothing wrong.
“He’s totally innocent, that’s all I’m gonna say,” the man told WPLG-TV.
Lawyer Stuart Kaplan, who is also a former FBI agent, said the use of tracking devices “happens more often than not,” according to CBS Miami.
Kaplan said there is a particular concern when the devices are being abused by police officers.
“When you’re talking about any sworn law enforcement officer, there is a sense of disappointment because there’s a sort of betrayal of confidence that the public wants to have,” Kaplan told CBS News.
AirTags are coin-sized devices that use Bluetooth technology; they were designed to help users locate lost items such as keys and wallets. But the products have also been used to unwittingly track people and vehicles, including by stalkers and those intending to harm others.
As CrimeOnline recently reported, an Indiana woman allegedly killed her boyfriend after tracking him with an AirTag to a bar where he was having drinks with another woman.
Apple has employed measures aimed at preventing unauthorized or unwanted tracking.
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[Featured Image: Police Handout]