Hot on the Trail to Catch a Thief

Seattle family pursues iPhone thieves using "find my phone" app until warned by a 911 operator to stop.
1:37 | 11/12/14

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Transcript for Hot on the Trail to Catch a Thief
Next tonight, a 911 operator telling a couple not to chase the thief who stole their iPhone. They did anyway. What would you do? Here's ABC's Neal Karlinsky. We're following the people around. And can we get a police officer? What do you mean, you're following people around? Reporter: At first, even the 911 operator was surprised. A Seattle family that had just had an iPhone stolen from their car in this parking lot was now in hot pursuit of the bad guys, by using the "Find my phone" feature, which allows people to see where their phone is on a map. Okay, go ahead and pull over and stop following that vehicle. Okay. That's totally dangerous and you don't know if they have any weapons. Reporter: But the family kept going. They followed the stolen iPhone through city streets from this park, eventually to this parking lot and then to this one. But the police wouldn't meet up with them to make an arrest and the 911 operator wasn't happy. Ma'am, let me tell you something. Hold on a second. I've been on the phone with someone just like this that was killed over a cell phone. And I really don't want that to happen to you, okay? It's just really not worth it. Reporter: The victims reluctantly gave up. If you are in the situation again, would you be tracking and following, or -- Yeah, I'd track him. Reporter: You still would? I bet you would, too. Reporter: Police acknowledge the victims' frustration, but insist chasing down thieves yourself is a dangerous roll of the dice. Neal Karlinsky, ABC news, Seattle.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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