COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) — The most magical place on Earth quickly turned into a scary destination for a Middle Tennessee family.
After a full day of fun at the Magic Kingdom, Jennifer Gaston’s 17-year-old daughter, Madison, received a notification that an Apple AirTag was moving with her while they were walking to their car.
“I had no idea, no idea what an AirTag was. Like, I was clueless,” Jennifer said. “It stated that it was first detected with her at 7:09 p.m. and we got the notification at about 11:33 p.m.”
Madison clicked on it and saw a map outlining all the places they had walked over the last four hours.
“It showed the first destination where it was detected with her, then it basically draws a line and makes the connections of the points where she had been,” Jennifer said.
“I had seen videos of other people warning people about them and what they were basically. So that’s how I knew what they were and I did not ignore the notification,” Madison said.
The Gaston family shook out all of their bags and clothing in the Disney World parking lot, jumped into their truck, and drove back to their hotel without locating the AirTag. They called the police on the way.
“As a parent, I just was so frantic in the moment,” Jennifer said. “Just to think that somebody had those intentions. Looking at your daughters and just having those intentions, it was just terrifying.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says they’ve assisted local departments here in the Volunteer State with similar investigations. If you find an AirTag on yourself or in your belongings, TBI says to turn it in to law enforcement. Police should be able to track the serial number and possibly trace it back to the owner.
“It made me feel really scared because I had seen videos on it, but it’s one of those things you never think is going to happen to you until it actually does,” Madison says.
The mother and daughter want to warn others to be aware of their surroundings and educate themselves on this new technology.
“Definitely do your research and find out what these are. Have proper settings on your phone so that if you do have an AirTag that ends up with you to make sure that your phone will detect it,” Jennifer said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida says since the family didn’t physically locate the AirTag, the responding deputy did not identify a criminal violation. But investigators did take an incident report and are aware of the situation.
OCSO says it is possible, given the thousands of Apple products in and around a theme park the Air Tag notification could be “erroneous.”