(NewsNation) — An Apple AirTag, which is used for GPS tracking, was found hidden under the hood of a marked New York Police Department vehicle, according to local media reports.
The New York Daily News reports that the “coin-sized” device was placed in a small plastic baggie and discovered in the police car on Sunday.
An email sent afterward to officers and obtained by the newspaper and NBC New York reminded members of the department to be in a “heightened state of vigilance.”
Inspections of marked cars, according to the Daily News, are supposed to be done before and after their tours.
“Continue looking out for each other and be safe,” the email, written by NYPD Chief of Housing Martine Materasso, said.
Marq Claxton, director of public relations and political affairs for the Black Law Enforcement Alliance, said incidents like this are a concern for officers.
“It’s a matter of safety — safety for the police officers, for the agency themselves,” Claxton said. “You want to ensure that the individuals who are out dedicating their lives to serving and protecting are protected as well, and not exposed to unnecessary danger.”
NewsNation reached out to the New York Police Department and Apple for comment.
Apple, in a Feb. 10, 2022 statement, said the company is aware of reports of bad actors attempting to misuse AirTag for criminal purposes.
“AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person’s property, and we condemn, in the strongest possible terms, any malicious use of our products,” the statement said.
To rectify this issue, Apple said AirTag’s “Find My” network uses end-to-end encryption and has a “proactive” system meant to alert people of unwanted tracking. The company also has been working with law enforcement on AirTag-related requests it has received.
“Based on our knowledge and on discussions with law enforcement, incidents of AirTag misuse are rare; however, each instance is one too many,” Apple said.