A phone repair technician was arrested after Charlotte County deputies say he illegally accessed a customer’s private files on her device and sent himself a copy of an explicit video she had stored on it.
According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, 28-year-old Cody Austin Terry, of North Port, was arrested after a woman took her iPhone in for repair at “I-Fix,” located at 2221 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte. She left her device with Terry for around two hours to be repaired. During that time, he browsed her personal files and discovered an explicit video of the victim saved to the device, then texted the file to his own personal phone.
The following day, the victim discovered the sent message and found that the video had also been deleted from her device. This led her to make a report to CCSO. Deputies used the phone number to which the message was sent to track it back to Terry.
Terry had forgotten to delete the message on the victim’s phone used to send the video to himself.
Terry spoke with the investigator and agreed to allow a search of his phone. He also told the deputy that if he had such a file saved on his phone, it would be located in a hidden folder, and he helped the deputy locate that folder. Once it was opened, Terry quickly pointed out the video in question from among several others of the same type in the folder. The file information of the video revealed that it had been saved to his phone on the same day the victim took her phone in for repair and during the time frame in which she had left it at the business.
Terry signed a waiver to allow deputies to download his phone contents as part of their investigation, allowing them to verify that the file had been sent to Terry’s phone number from the victim’s phone number on the day and time during which the victim’s device was in for repair. He was placed under arrest and transported to the Charlotte County Jail.
Matt Ringland owns uBreakiFix, a different phone repair store.
Ringland told WINK News there are ways to protect yourself and ways his store makes sure it protects customers.
“We have cameras, of course, in our stores that watch all their technicians do all the work and make sure they’re not doing anything. But also, you know, if customers have any issues, or they have any second guesses, we show them, you know, hey, these are the apps that we will be using to make sure the functionality of the phone is working properly because we want to make sure it’s tested out fully before and after the repair,” Ringland said. “As well as the screen time on iPhones on iOS devices. There’s a screen time that will show you this is how much time you were in an app, what the app was doing, and stuff like that. So that way customers know, you know what’s going on.”
Terry was released on a $5,000 bond and is scheduled for a court appearance in January 2023. He faces a charge of accessing a computer/electronic device without authority.