• Last modified 670 days ago (July 23, 2020)


Will Alexa know who stole her?

An Amazon Echo worth $120 remains missing after being reported stolen from an elderly Hillsboro woman’s home between July 5 and July 10.

But Hillsboro assistant police chief Jessey Hiebert says it can be traced with the proper information.

If the owner knows information like the serial number then there’s a possibility it can be tracked, he said.

Smart speakers like the Echo have to be set up by a smartphone to use the Alexa “bot” that responds to spoken instructions. If someone else tried to activate the speaker, the Alexa service might notice.

But Hiebert said he was skeptical about whether the information was known since the woman’s nurse was the one who actually reported the theft.

“I think a lot of times there are people who don’t take the steps to track it,” he said.

Hiebert had his own experience tracking stolen electronics several years ago, when he was able to track an iPad that a thief had taken.

“They went to see their mother and all this stuff,” he said. “It’s pretty easy and they were not able to back out of that because I knew every place they went.”

One advantage for Hiebert is that he owns high-tech products so he understands functions like “Track my Phone.”

“People my age and older, we didn’t grow up with it,” he said. “We’re not usually that trendy. We’re starting to figure it out.”

Last modified July 23, 2020