THE 'problem' of Apple AirTags being abused by stalkers has been highlighted in a court case involving an obsessed man who tracked his ex-wife.
Roberto Aparecido Dolivo, 47, borrowed his estranged wife's car while she was away on holiday and planted the device in the spare wheel compartment.
A court heard he spent four months following her to check if she was seeing another man.
The complainant often turned up to events and places only to find her former partner was also unexpectedly there.
She began to suspect that something was wrong when it became a frequent occurrence.
Her friends suggested that her car may have been bugged.
She installed a special app on her iPhone that could find electronic tracking devices and discovered the small Apple AirTag when she scanned her car.
The complainant immediately reported it to the police and Dolivo was arrested the next day.
He pleaded guilty to stalking the woman by tracking her whereabouts with an Apple AirTag when he appeared at Poole Magistrates' Court.
Terry Scanlan, defending Dolivo, told the court that Apple AirTags were "causing a lot of problems" in society.
The £50 devices are about the size of a 10 pence piece and were designed to act as key fobs and luggage tags so people could always track important belongings.
But they are also being abused by people who want to stalk others. Mr Scanlan added: "They allow us to spy on each other with ease."
The court heard that the couple were married for 23 years before they split up in 2021.
Jason Spellman, prosecuting, read out a victim impact statement made by the complainant.
She said: "I have known Roberto since I was 14-years-old in 1994.
"We were married in 1998 and split up in 2021.
"Roberto has not accepted our relationship is over. He consistently asks me where I am and who I am with.
"He also regularly asks if I am having a relationship with another man. The money I earn from cleaning he accuses me of getting through prostitution.
"I went back to Brazil between December 2021 and February 2022 and during that time Roberto used my car.
"When I came back I thought it was odd that Roberto managed to find us all the time.
"A friend suggested there might be a tracker on my car.
"I used an app to check and it suggested there was one. I found a small white disc in the spare wheel compartment.
"It made me feel very worried and I feared for my safety."
Mr Scanlan said the defendant, of Avon Road, Bournemouth, was of previous good character.
He said: "This is the first time he has ever been in trouble.
"There was never any intention to cause Mrs Dolivo any distress."
Fiona McKenna, presiding magistrate, told Dolivo: "Invading somebody's privacy like you did is a very serious offence.
"You put that tracking device into your wife's car and it does qualify for a custodial sentence.
"Having considered the evidence and the probation report we think a community order is appropriate.
"You will also take part in the Building Better Relationships programme."
Dolivo was ordered to carry out 125 hours of unpaid work under the two-year community order. He was also issued with a two-year restraining order, which prevents him from making any contact with his ex-wife.
The defendant was ordered to pay £199 in court costs.
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