Tips from PoPville for recovering a stolen iPhone?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Becky Miskell

“Dear PoPville,

My purse was snatched, with my new iPhone 5s in it, at the corner of 14th and Rhode Island, NW last night [Ed. Note: Last week]. I filed a report with the police last night, however we know that will lead nowhere. It’s become clear today that there’s some sort of purse snatching scheme going on. I’ve heard from a woman on a burner phone (we traced the number) that claims her boyfriend found my phone but is hesitant to drop it at a neutral location for fear of getting “set up”. The woman was supposed to call me back in “20 minutes” after checking back in with her boyfriend – that was about an hour and a half ago. I could start stalking the burner number, hope the ultimate phone ransom isn’t too steep, and have the police follow me to the phone’s location. Or I could forget it and go spend another $600 on a new phone (I just bought it!).

My question: I’m sure I’m not the first. Is this a lost cause or is there some sort of tip to get my phone back?”

12 Comment

  • Not really a recovery tip, but can you check and see if your credit card has theft protection? Mine (from Chase) will pay for replacement electronics if the original was bought with the card and stolen within the first 30 (or 60? can’t remember) days. But you would have to have a police report.

  • You can just suggest/ask that they drop it off at a Verizon Store or Apple Store. I had a phone stolen/found before that way.

    If you have the phone locater app you can trace where the phone is. I lost my phone in Chinatown one night, and saw it was in silver spring the next day. I texted the person (on my phone) saying I was happy to go to Silver Spring right then to pick it up – so they knew I had a trace on it. It motivated them to drop it off at the closest verizon store – and I had my phone back within a few hours.

  • First, did you activate Find My iPhone on the phone? I managed to recover an iPhone I dropped on a bus the same day after tracking the phone and sending a message and a noise to the phone. Granted, the person who found my phone did not steal it and was very willing to meet me to pick up my phone from her. In this post, the person who now has the phone seems a bit shadier.

    • Emmaleigh504

      I use Find My iPhone at least monthly when I’ve lost my phone in my apartment and it’s on silent. I love that feature.

  • If the person is using a burner and is “worried about being set up,” they’ve already shut down the phone and removed the SIM card. They were basically calling to find out if it was worth trying to get a reward for it, which in itself is a rarity.

    • This advice — directed to someone who’s still smarting over the loss of her phone — doesn’t seem very nice, nor is it germane to the OP’s question.

      • Oops, that was supposed to have been a reply to “you should have waited until next week to get an iPhone when Apple releases the new model,” below.

  • Also – you should have waited until next week to get an iPhone when Apple releases the new model. At least there is a silver lining to this story (and now you know to wait until after September every year to buy an iPhone).

  • Sorry if this is a stupid question, but how did the woman on the burner phone get in touch with you, if she/her boyfriend had your phone? Did they get your work phone number from the stolen phone, or from something else that was in your purse?

  • stealing a smartphone should be a felony.

  • Sorry this happened to you, but get insurance for your phone (make sure it covers theft and damage, too). I added an electronics protection plan to my renter’s insurance for $25/year with a $50 deductible. I’ve already had 2 replaced without raising the rate.

Comments are closed.