A Tale of Two Cities: Stolen iPhones & What You Should Do

A Tale of Two Cities: Stolen iPhones & What You Should Do

Gregory Han
Dec 5, 2011

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

With tougher economic times all around the country, petty crimes are on the rise as we near holiday season. Just this weekend, two close friends here in Los Angeles reported their iPhones had been stolen, one right out of her own hand as she was reading while on public transportation! Both shared their dramatic tales with us, one chasing down the would-be thief and recovering his phone, the other losing her phone, but gaining a bit of knowledge in the process...

Our first friend/victim said he had noticed his phone had gone missing while enjoying an evening with friends at a bar. After combing through all the places and spaces he had been during the evening, he realized someone had likely snatched up his phone sometime during the night when he sat it down while drinking or chatting with friends (seems like iPhones and bars do not mix). Remembering he had installed Find My iPhone, he had one friend rush back home to access the app from a laptop, while another accompanied him with another iPhone in a car.

In what sounds much like an episode from The Wire, albeit a much more high-tech version, our friend chased the would-be thief's car all across Los Angeles to Hollywood and back for an hour. One friend relayed the location/distance of his phone from "home base" using Google Maps to another friend sitting passenger, directed our friend finally to the location of his phone. Fortunately the person with his phone gave it up willingly when confronted (we're not sure we'd always recommend confronting would-be thieves) and our friend is happily reunited with his iPhone. You can find other similar tales of reuniting using this method of online tracking, so we highly recommend iPhone users install Find My iPhone, just in case.

Unfortunately our second friend's tale didn't conclude with the same happy ending. Alissa, aka GelatoBaby, had her phone swiped right from her hands as she was taking the Blue Line home from a day of biking to the beach:

"At the Grand station, just one stop away from where we were getting off, and just when I was getting to a really, really good part in my book, a single black knit glove plunged across the page and gently took the phone from my hand."

Although she didn't recover her phone in what she describes as the "modern day purse snatch" (she remembered her purse and bike remained in the train car, thus stopping her from a full on foot chase...likely a fortunate decision), Alissa did return with some hard earned experience and good advice about what to do when when someone snatches your smart device:

Being forever the optimist, Alissa mentions the bright side of the incident: "Siri, tell me who's getting a new iPhone tomorrow?"

(Photo: Alissa Walker/Gelatobaby)

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