Man Accused of Using iPhone App to Pretend to be Police

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter


By Ellen Kurt

IOWA CITY, Iowa - A 24-year-old Cedar Rapids man was arrested over the weekend after officers say he used an iPhone application to disguise his phone number and then sent harassing text messages and phone calls, including one that appeared to be from the Iowa City Police Department.

Iowa City police were called about the alleged harassment at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, according to a criminal complaint. A woman told officers that Thomas E. Garland had been harassing her by phone, having sent numerous text messages to her over the past week demanding his property be returned, according to the complaint.

Garland is accused of including vulgarities and insinuations of bodily harm toward the victim, police reported.

When the woman blocked Garland’s number, according to the complaint, he used an iPhone application that disguises incoming numbers and continued to text her.

Garland also is accused of pretending to be the Iowa City Police Department by having the agency’s number appear on the woman’s caller ID when he called, according to the complaint.

The complaint doesn’t specify which application Garland is accused of using, but “SpoofApp” is one such mobile application that allows users to “change what the person you’re calling sees on the Caller ID display.”

According to, the application protects a user’s privacy by allowing that person to “be anyone you want to.”

Garland is no longer being held at the Johnson County Jail.

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