Reporting A Stolen iPhone To Cops Is Smart If You Didn’t Just Steal It From Someone Else

The sad reality is that many times a stolen phone is just not going to come back to you. There are a lot of iPhones out there and not enough police to recover them all, especially in New York City where so-called “Apple picking” is rampant. But one girl caught a break when none other than the person who stole her phone was the one who ultimately ended up reuniting her with it. 

NYC crime was up last year mostly because of Apple products getting lifted, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently. Everyone knows the Apple brand and with people tapping at iPads on the train and playing games on iPhones while walking, the items are a prime target for thieves.

The New York Times relays the story of a teenage girl who was confronted by three boys about her age in Prospect Park, one of whom ended up grabbing her iPhone 4S from her. Just like that, her phone was gone, so she found two police officers to report the theft to.

Meanwhile, the thief tried to sell the iPhone soon after he sold it, to a man on the street who ended up just yanking it away from him and running off. Now here’s where if he didn’t want to get in trouble, he would’ve chalked his loss up to karma. Instead, he tried to get justice by going to the police to report that he’d been a victim of theft. How brazen! Or just plain dumb.

He flagged down a police car, and cops were able to find and arrest the man who’d snatched the iPhone from him. Everyone then headed to the local precinct to sort things out.

“He portrays himself as being a complainant,” the officer working that day tells the NYT. “A victim.”

Meanwhile, the actual owner of the phone was still with police offers from another precinct nearby. One of those cops called the girl’s phone and pretended to be the phone’s owner, and asked the person on the other end to meet up.

The officer identified himself, and everything started to become clear as precinct numbers were exchanged.

The two groups united at the first precinct’s station, where the girl was able to prove the phone was hers by punching in the PIN to unlock it. When the boy who claimed it as his own — and was still acting as a complainant — couldn’t do the same, he was taken into custody.

Reunited with her freshly stolen and then re-stolen phone, and with the first thief to thank for getting it back, it seems the girl’s spate of bad luck is over. In the two months since the double theft, no one else has boosted her iPhone.

If only all thieves could be stolen from and have the chutzpah to get the cops involved, we’d all be better off.

A Smartphone So Tempting That Even Its Thief Was Robbed [New York Times]