My iPhone Got Jacked At Gunpoint – Help!

Reader Dan says he was walking home last night and got robbed at gunpoint, losing his iPhone, which he only got five days ago, in the process. He asks, “Any tips from you or readers? Can it be tracked using the onboard gps? This STINKS!”

Sorry, Dan, that really sucks. Theoretically, it should be traceable by its signal. But checking the comments on a post about this issue on Chris Pirillo’s blog, there’s several people saying that AT&T was no help and wouldn’t do a trace when they reported their phone stolen to the police. Here’s one of the guys who was successful, though.

ConditionWon wrote:

I FOUND my phone because the thief registered it with ATT, so Apple help was able to confirm the phone #, and user who had taken my phone… I gave that info the the cops, and the guy was arrested! BTW… ATT was of NO help whatsoever, they wouldn’t even confirm that the # my phone was registered under was their customer. Yay for Apple though!!!

What Happens when your iPhone gets Stolen
[Chris Pirillo] (Photo: frankieleon)


Edit Your Comment

  1. post_break says:

    Call ATT, they can wipe the data off of it remotely and possibly track it if the thief uses it.

    • plyhard13 says:

      @post_break: Um…no.

    • QuantumRiff says:

      @post_break: ATT won’t do squat for you. ATT will bend over backward for a warrant from a police officer. File an armed robbery complaint with the police, and ask them to do it.

    • hewhoroams says:


      That is false.

    • pjorg says:

      @post_break: This is patently false. AT&T has no ability to perform remote wipes.

      However, if you used the device with a Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync account, your Exchange admins can force a remote wipe, though not all are necessarily set up to do so. You’ll have to check with them.

    • shorty63136 says:

      @post_break: No – they cannot. They can only do that IF you have a 3G iPhone (sure, he got it 5 days ago but some people are still selling their 1st gens) AND you have are using Microsoft Exchange. And if that is the case, he should contact his employer to do the wipe for him.

      His best best is to IMMEDIATELY go to Apple and give them his serial number (and AT&T with the IMEI), reporting it stolen, so that if someone tries to register it, it can be declined and he could TRY to get his phone back.

  2. bobbycreekwater says:

    Honestly, if you got robbed at gunpoint just call the iPhone a lost and keep it moving. Also, if you were able to track said individual, who has a gun, what would you do? Get shot at this time? I doubt the police will be willing to do a stake out with you over an iPhone. Just my thoughts though.

    • plyhard13 says:

      @bobbycreekwater: The police most definitely will investigate a gun crime. That is a major felony that includes substantial jail time. It’s not the iPhone so much as the getting held up at gunpoint that will arouse the interest of the PD.

      • AliyaBabasaur says:

        @plyhard13: also, my mom had her iphone stolen just out of her purse while at a nail salon and the police still investigated it… I’m not saying they accomplished much, but they spent several hours with my mother and on the phone with AT&T and Apple.

        • 269InchDiagonal_GitEmSteveDave says:

          @AliyaBabasaur: It also depends on the jurisdiction. If they are a small town/area with not a lot of crime, they will investigate the smaller things, like a phone grabbed from a purse. Unlike Newark, NJ, which won’t even send an officer out for car break ins. You call a special number, and they take the report over the phone!

      • consumerd says:


        The police most definitely will investigate a gun crime. That is a major felony that includes substantial jail time. It’s not the iPhone so much as the getting held up at gunpoint that will arouse the interest of the PD.

        Agreed, the perp did it once they are likely to do it again. Next time that victim might not be as lucky! So yea the cops will be interested in that. As well as the cops will want the serial number and the IMEI number of the phone. They can track him down much faster that way.

        AT&T probably wouldn’t do it as a request out of the blue unless you have a report or something.

    • heltoupee says:

      @bobbycreekwater: Armed robbery is a felony. It carries serious jail time. The cops would love to get this bastard off the streets and behind bars before he really hurts someone.

    • Cocotte says:

      @bobbycreekwater: Generally police very much want to find people who use guns for robberies, as the gun can likely be tied to other unsolved crimes. Lots of bang for their buck, as it were.

  3. PenneAll'Arrabbiata_GitEmSteveDave says:

    Involve the police as this was an theft at gunpoint, which is a felony. They’ll do what they have to to get a possible violent felon off the street.

    • cuchanu says:

      @269InchDiagonal_GitEmSteveDave: If by “do what they have to” you mean “investigate” I think your opinion of cops is a little bit optimistic. Cops here will just take the report to make you happy. They don’t even send officers out for car break-ins anymore. I’ve had my car broke into 3 times and I don’t even bother calling them. My friend called when his was broke into and the cop on the phone just said there isn’t anything they can do. “Will do” would have been more appropriate. I’m done ranting.

      • ExtraCelestial says:

        @cuchanu: My credit card was stolen and someone had a taco fiesta (seriously, over 3k at Qdoba!!) and the nice police officer was the only help out of everyone I talked to. Wamu even refused to refund my money (since I had not yet reported it stolen) until the police stepped in. There are still some nice, hard-working police out there believe it or not. Plus the ones from San Palo (Alto?) Texas I met at Barack’s inauguration were awesome!

  4. post_break says:

    Gah this is why I HATE “After the jump” articles. Just another gimmick to get more ad views.

  5. bananaballs says:

    The minute Apple’s contract with AT&T is up, I am out. ETF or no, they are shit for a company. This example of their appalling behavior, mixed with American Idol texts and more dropped calls than I have experienced ever and I am only in month one of my contract will have me running.

    Add to this that you cannot buy insurance for your iphone and it makes me eager to see how their attitude will change once their breadwinner (iphone) isn’t beholden only to them.

  6. KyleOrton says:

    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire…

  7. DjDynasty says:

    Consumerist is owned by Consumer Reports. They don’t have to deal with advertising revenue anymore.

  8. Christopher Virgin says:

    If Apple would release a self-destruct app, you wouldn’t need AT&T or the cops…

  9. Pylon83 says:

    ATT won’t confirm anything because of potential liability. What if they gave the victim all the information they wanted, and then they proceeded to go and either hurt the thief or get themselves seriously hurt in the process? Immediately everyone turns to ATT, because they have deep pockets, and claims that the reason it happened was because ATT gave out the information, and they should have known this would occur. The proper procedure is to contact the police, give them all the information and let them handle it. I’ll accept that the police aren’t always motivated to do their jobs, but you can’t blame ATT for not wanting to incur the wrath of thousands of personal injury lawyers. Occasionally you’ll find a rep who will disregard the rules, and a really sly victim can skillfully socially engineer whatever information they want. However, most people are simply to illogical, emotional or just plain stupid to be out hunting down criminals who stole their stuff. Your $200 iPhone isn’t worth getting yourself hurt or killed over. Hand the information over to the police and hound them constantly until they do their jobs.

    • KyleOrton says:

      @Pylon83: Exactly. Especially since there was a firearm involved. If it was swiped from the locker room at the country club, I’d probably say go get’em.

    • Ryan Theriault says:


      You’ve got it. Apple should not have given out any of the information either, due to just plain security reasons. anyone can claim anything when trying to gather information.

  10. Anonymous says:

    To address the above comments, It was the police that contacted ATT to track the phone.

    Of course I am not going to put myself in harm’s way over a phone.

    I called the police immediately, but even in my small town they were not very motivated. A fresh snow had even fallen, all they would have had to do was follow the footprints!

  11. bonzombiekitty says:

    With most phones you can turn off GPS features except for when calling 911. If the phone is off, locating it won’t work. And then there’s the issue of actually locating the phone, I’m not familiar with AT&T’s set up, but it actually just might be as simple as them pushing a button and locate the phone – might be based off a SIM card or something which if the thief removed makes it impossible to track. They also might just not have the programs available to lower level help to just simply find a phone.

  12. NeutronDecker says:

    This is why i run Ihound on all of my devices..from my iphone to my flash drives. It works..

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      @NeutronDecker: The problem with the iPhone is that iHound must be running for you to be able to track it. So any time you’re not using the phone for anything else you have to remember to manually launch iHound. If the crook simply turns the phone off and on again the app is defeated. It’s a good idea in theory but unless/until Apple lets apps run in the background and startup when the phone is turned on then this is just a waste of money as far as I’m concerned.

  13. HIV 2 Elway says:

    Get a handgun before Obama takes them away, get your conceal and carry license, you won’t have this problem again.

    • formatc says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: It’s important to own several weapons so you can stash them in various locations throughout your home and workplace for when the zombies attack.

      • HIV 2 Elway says:

        @formatc: You’re god damned right. I’ve been pushing for monthly zombie training at work for years.

        • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

          @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: You’re god damned right. I’ve been pushing for monthly zombie training at work for years.

          This is turning into a “The Office” skit…quickly.

          I want a gun, but my wife wont let me have one. :-(
          We comprimised and I get to have two tasers.

          • jimconsumer says:

            @Wormfather is Wormfather: “I want a gun, but my wife wont let me have one.” — You have GOT to be fucking KIDDING me. Does she keep your balls in her hope chest? Seriously, if you let your wife get away with this shit, you guys have serious issues in your marriage. My advice, go buy your gun. When she freaks out, tell her to STFU. Yes, I’m serious.

            Or, you know, do whatever she says. I suppose some men do like having a mommy-type for a wife…

            I don’t mean to be rude to you. I’ve read a lot of your posts and generally like what you have to say. I’m just shocked and appalled that anyone would let their wives control them to this extent. Man, if you want a gun, just get one. You have the right to your own life, my friend. She doesn’t get a say in this matter and no, you don’t have to ask her permission.

            • HIV 2 Elway says:

              @jimconsumer: USA! USA! USA!

            • Ingram81 says:

              @jimconsumer: MY real question is, why wasn’t she in the kitchen when she was voicing her concern? Better yet, did you ask her opinion first, cause there’s your problem in a nut shell.

            • oneandone says:

              @jimconsumer: She gets a say in the matter if she lives in the house and he intends to keep the gun in the house. Especially if there’s children at the home or who visit regularly.

              I support people making use of the 2nd ammendment but I will enforce a strict no guns policy in my home once there are children. I think it’s common sense. Just because you can have a firearm doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for every situation. And I don’t think the benefit of having them grow up well-schooled in firearm safety outweighs the real and serious risk of injury or death.

              Bottom line: You have the right to your own life, yes. But once your spouse feels that their safety – other other family members’ safety – might be at risk, why not compromise?

              • jimconsumer says:

                @oneandone: “As accidental firearm’s related deaths is about 1400 per year, including hunting accidents, the defensive use verses accidental death ratio is about 700-800 to 1.”(source: []).

                I refuse to compromise on safety. Having firearms in the home is a safety issue, but not in the way you’re thinking of it. Accidental firearms deaths in the home are few and far between. Compared to the number of firearms present in homes, it’s not even a drop in the bucket. You, your wife and your children are far, far more likely to be raped, murdered, or otherwise attacked and harmed by a criminal than you are to die by accidental discharge of your firearm.

                It is absolutely ridiculous to me that anybody can believe this anti-gun nonsense. Do you read the news? How many times do you read about people being harmed by criminals? It’s in my local news daily. How many times do you read about accidental gun deaths in the home? Rarely, if ever. The last one I read about, it was some stupid redneck who got drunk off his ass, decided to “clean his guns” and accidentally shot his kid. Gee, maybe don’t handle your firearms when you’re intoxicated…

                Point is: I have guns BECAUSE I have a family. In fact, I bought my first gun just a few months after my first baby was born. I am not going to be sitting at home with a butter knife and leave my family unprotected. Most people are just sitting around waiting to become statistics. Without a gun, there is nothing stopping someone from walking into your home and doing whatever he likes with you, with your wife, your children… If you think it can’t happen to you, you’re wrong. Everyone thinks it can’t happen to them – until it does, every day, to innocent people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time through no fault of their own.

                Firearms are equalizers. I’m a computer geek, not a quarterback. I can’t take on a drugged up criminal who breaks into my house without one.

                I urge you to re-evaluate your position in this matter. Find out how many children are actually shot with Daddy’s firearm. Then go find out how many children are murdered, raped, kidnapped, or otherwise attacked by criminals. You’re going to find your family is a thousand times safer with that gun than without it. The key is, though, you can’t just buy a gun and stash it in a drawer and feel safe. You need to use it, understand it, and train with it regularly. Go down to the firing range monthly and blast holes through paper bad guys. Take safety courses and fully understand the mechanics of your firearm, it’s safety systems, what can go wrong with them, and so on and so forth. When your children are old enough to understand (my son was shooting with me at the age of 4), teach them to respect firearms. My kids know that if you point a gun at someone, they’re dead forever and never coming back. Unless I hand them the gun out at the range, they don’t even go into the same room with my firearms, let alone touch them.

                A firearm is a commitment. If you aren’t ready to make that commitment, don’t buy one. But if you are, don’t let anybody – not even your wife – force your family to be defenseless over unfounded concerns rooted in little more than ignorance and fear.

            • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

              @jimconsumer: @oneandone: @mannymix03:

              It’s like this, I get what I want around the house, for the most part. She will give in/compromise on just about anything. Flat Screen, got it, ps3, wii, blender, etc. And so will I, I didnt want a dog, but look there he is, in fact I went and picked him out.

              My wife came from a family where everyone loved to hunt over in the UK, she was always against it and scared to death of guns. My basis for wanting a gun is for protection. What’s the point of protecting her if she’s so scared she doesnt want to be in the same house the gun.

              Who’s gonna make me my god damned SAMMICH then?

              Anyway, a comprimise is best when both sides walk away unhappy. She’s not a fan of the taser either I’d rather a gun, but we both aggree that in the 20 minuts it will take the cops to come, throwing a shoe just wont do.

              I will still support gun rights, I just support my wife’s right to feel safe at home…even when we’re not being burgled more.

              PS I’m not whipped. I go out when I want, I make the purchases I want and I never lose when i’m right, unless it’s a stratigic decision. Sometimes, what you’re fighting for isnt as important as what your fighting against.

          • Ingram81 says:

            @Wormfather is Wormfather: Don’t ‘tase me bro!

      • RichasB says:

        @formatc: LMFAO!!!!!!
        Do you play Zombie Panic: Source too? :p

    • Stephen W. Daries says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected:
      I agree whole-heartedly on this. Let some one walk up on me with a gun. Florida castle doctrine states if I feel threatened I can hold my ground, this includes using deadly force. With a concealed carry, my military background and their threatening actions, it will be a clear cut case and the DA will return my carry permit and my handgun.

    • howie_in_az says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Yes because you’ll be dead.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Silly man, don’t you know that once Obama outlaws “assault weapons”, gun crime will totally cease? This never would have happened if we just had more unconstitutional gun laws!

      Just look at England…and…oh, wait…

      • JustThatGuy3 says:


        Yeah, do look at England. 3.8 firearms deaths per million people per year. The US? 100 deaths per million people per year.

        Firearms deaths haven’t “totally ceased,” but the fact that our rate is 25 times the UK rate should at least make you think. Not that it will, but it should.

        • Traveshamockery says:

          @JustThatGuy3: Go ahead and look at the massive increases in violent crime, including B&E, rape, and assaults.

          When criminals know that the law abiding citizens have no way to protect themselves, they become more brazen.

          So let’s think beyond the one statistic you cherry-picked there and see the whole picture.

          Since a very large number of those murders in the US occur due to gang-on-gang violence, and most of those weapons are obtained illegally by felons or other criminals, how do you propose reducing those deaths? By passing more laws, which they’ll also circumvent?

          More restrictions on guns often reduces gun deaths, but it’s by no means the whole picture. People are murdered every day in Japan, and they’re a firearms free society.

          • JustThatGuy3 says:


            Basically, those numbers are cherry-picked.

            For the UK data, the police changed their recording system, which accounts for the “rise” in gun crime. Using a survey which didn’t change methodology in the time in question shows that crime didn’t go up:

            For the Australian Experience, look at Snopes:

            • Traveshamockery says:

              @JustThatGuy3: The change in recording system doesn’t account for the across the board increase in crime that doesn’t necessarily involve guns…for example, many muggings or burglaries don’t necessarily involve guns, they’re just more likely to occur since there’s less chance of the bad guy getting shot.

              The Snopes article is clearly targeted to refute the specific statistics in that email (some of which are misleading, upon further consideration, and appear in my link), but the writer’s own bias shows through very clearly. Yes, it was a gun buyback program, and not all guns disappeared, but there was a dramatic decrease in guns that correlates with an increase in crime. While difficult to measure and prove, there’s never going to be an experiment with only a single independent variable (that of gun ownership) which will perfectly reveal the facts. That’s why there are good arguments on both sides of the fence.

              But since we’re incredibly off topic now, I’ll let you have the last word and be done.

        • Traveshamockery says:

          @JustThatGuy3: By the way, I’m not currently a gun owner, just a supporter of our constitutional freedom to bear arms.

        • Traveshamockery says:

          @JustThatGuy3: Sorry to triple post, but here are some articles that should make you think (I trust you will, being an open minded type)


          …in the four years from 1997 (when the English handgun ban was enacted) to 2001, the rate of violent crime more than doubled. Your chances of being mugged in London are now six times greater than in New York. England’s rates of assault, robbery, and burglary are far higher than America’s, and 53 percent of English burglaries occur while occupants are at home, compared with 13 percent in the U.S., where burglars admit to fearing armed homeowners more than the police.


          Since Australia’s gun ban, armed robberies increase 45%

          Since Australia banned private ownership of most guns in 1996, crime has risen dramatically on that continent…
          * Countrywide, homicides are up 3.2 percent;
          * Assaults are up 8.6 percent;
          * Amazingly, armed robberies have climbed nearly 45 percent;
          * In the Australian state of Victoria, gun homicides have climbed 300 percent;
          * In the 25 years before the gun bans, crime in Australia had been dropping steadily;

          Those gun-restricting laws have failed miserably for England and Australia. But we’re special, I’m sure they’ll work better here.

        • Ingram81 says:

          @JustThatGuy3: Yes lets just look at lovely ole England: They have Puppies, and they have Choclate, beautiful women just to name all the goodness of England.

    • jesseraub says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected:

      This is a great idea. Becuase when he has the gun pointed at you, you’ll have plenty of time to draw on him before he fires.

      Or maybe you’ll have a bullet in your skull.

      • HIV 2 Elway says:

        @jesseraub: It goes like this.
        Criminal: [gun pulled] Give me your trendy phone.
        You: Yes, sir.
        Criminal takes trendy phone and begins to walk away.
        You pull legal fire arm and reclaim not only what is yours but the criminal’s weapon as well. With gun pulled use trendy phone to call police.

    • snowburnt says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: the expo center down the street from me had a wine showcase and gun show on the same day. It was pretty interesting seeing people with assault rifles with price tags on them sampling wines.

    • cuchanu says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: As stated before it is important to have weapons for the possible zombie invasion. It’s happening in Austin Texas as we speak, people wake up!!!

      HIV 2 Elway: you do realize that every time a democrat takes office the NRA and gun companies work together to convince people like you that their rights are threatened? No, it’s not to protect your rights, it’s because gun sales double. The funny thing is “Get a gun before Obama takes them away” doesn’t even make any fucking sense. What’s the point of spending a few hundred bucks on a gun if “Obama is gonna take it away”?


      • HIV 2 Elway says:

        @cuchanu: Grandfather laws.

      • jimconsumer says:

        @cuchanu: The point is not that he will take them away from individuals – he will simply make them illegal and/or unavailable for future purchase. So get them now, while you still can.

        Most gun owners in America will not give their guns up to anyone. It would be impossible for a politician to round up guns in this country and take them from people… most of us will refuse to hand them over, law or no law. There simply aren’t enough police to even come close to pulling this off and our military is by and large very pro-gun and pro-American and would refuse to turn on their own people. Attempting to actually “round up” guns would result in civil war.

        What they’ll do instead is make guns unavailable over time. They’ll re-institute the assault weapons ban, limit magazines to 5 rounds, etc. They’ll slowly ban guns until it’s difficult if not impossible to buy new ones. They’ll do the same for ammunition. So the point is, buy them now while you still can.

        • mannymix03 says:

          Obama isn’t going to take away guns, regardless of what the NRA says, or limit them. He’s got enough on the plate with the shit economy and wars that bush left us. Guns will never be taken away in America and every politician knows that, the NRA wants to boost sales so they create a scare so everyone will go out and buy guns. Boosts sales really well

        • cuchanu says:

          @jimconsumer: I’m not getting into wether or not Obama will do this or that; I’m specifically referring to “Get a handgun before Obama takes them away” which is the NRA’s rallying cry but we all know it wont happen.

      • Ingram81 says:

        @cuchanu: He can’t actually take them away if you own it. You won’t be able to purchase any more, but they cannot legally come into your house and take something from you in that manner. Which is why there are some people with automatic weapons at their homes, even though you can’t go out and legally purchase them (without permits).

    • kimsama says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Oh yeah, that Obama guy seriously loves undermining the Constitution! God, remember when he kept issuing executive orders that sabotaged the fourth and fifth amendments?

      Or…wait a minute…maybe it was that other president guy.

    • jimconsumer says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Agreed 100%. I carry daily. “Sure, you can have my wallet. Let me just pull it out of my pocket here…. *bang*!”

    • Mary Marsala with Fries says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Yes, then you can be SHOT AND KILLED by a surprised mugger, rather than just losing your possessions! Great idea!

      Dumbass bravado aside, muggers are on edge and their primary concern is getting away without getting caught. Giving them your shit and staying calm is a good way to stay alive — chasing them or confronting them is a good way to get killed.

      Darwin be with you.

      • HIV 2 Elway says:

        @Mary Marsala with Fries: You’ve obviously never shot a gun. To be accurate with a handgun one must be calm and trained. Your average mugger is neither but every conceal and carry card holder is. Obtaining a conceal and carry takes a commitment to safety and training.

        • GildaKorn says:

          @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected:
          “To be accurate with a handgun one must be calm and trained. Your average mugger is neither but every conceal and carry card holder is. Obtaining a conceal and carry takes a commitment to safety and training.”

          ROTFL. Yeah, y’all sound really calm and well trained, itching to shoot the next person who tries to take a $100 trinket from you.

          Unless the concealed/carry permit requires weekly examinations, I cannot possibly see how you could say the average permitee is calm and trained. That’s just flat out absurd.

          • MrEvil says:

            @GildaKorn: Being hyper-aware and prepared to shoot someone doesn’t mean somebody isn’t calm. The fact of the matter is in order to defend yourself against someone that wields a firearm you need to make a split-second decision because odds are the shitbag holding a gun on you isn’t going to hesitate sending you to the morgue.

  14. BirkBum says:

    I can’t wait to get held up for my phone, have the guy realize I have a G1, and then get shot instead of losing my phone.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What if the person who registers the stolen phone bought it from the actual thief? Then just arresting the person who registered it makes no sense. It does make sense, however, to question the buyer to get info about the seller. Just a thought. Regardless, you should tell the police and also contact AT&T to assist.

  16. Kawai Carvalho says:

  17. post_break says:

    I guess people need to start carrying shitty cellphones as decoys when you own an iphone.

  18. lalaland13 says:

    Did a masked man steal your iPhone at gunpoint, and now AT&T won’t help? There’s an app for that.

    Kidding aside, if you haven’t already gotten the police involved, do so. They were helpful when someone stole my license plate out of the parking lot, so I imagine they’d be really interested in that. Good luck.

  19. hills says:

    I hope you got the Apple Protection Plan so that AT&T will “let” you buy a replacement iphone at the “discounted” price again (instead of $600 or whatever….)

  20. Anonymous says:

    Most credit cards offer so-called “purchase protection,” which reimburses you the purchase price up to a set amount if the item is stolen or damaged within 90 days. Call the issuer of the card you paid with to find out if you’re covered, and what you’d need to do to file a claim. Most just want the police report.

  21. Traveshamockery says:

    I hope the robber wasn’t using this app:


  22. uncle_dan says:

    To address the above comments:

    – I called the police immediately. It was THEM that was told by ATT that they were not willing to track the phone. of course I would not put myself in harms way over a phone.

    – I doubt the police will be motivated enough to do anny additional investigation. The investigation consisted of apprehending a random group of three dark-skinned males, bringing me over to id them (wrong guys), and then giving up. Afresh snow had just fallen, all they would have had to do was follow the footsteps!

  23. Trai_Dep says:

    I was accosted by a swarthy gun-wielding man while I was carrying a friend-of-a-friend’s* Zune**. The mugger looked at me aghast, then his scarred, craggy face softened and he offered his gun to me saying, “Dude, here. You need this more than I do.”

    * You don’t really think I have friends who I’d let buy a Zune, do you?!

    ** I had a door I needed to prop open.

  24. DaoKaioshin says:

    this is why i load all my personal valuable with shrapnel and c4, keeping a remote detonator hidden elsewhere on my person

  25. Rachacha says:

    Too bad Google has not yet released the Latitude App for the iPhone. Had you installed that you would have been able to locate the phone immediately. When the app comes out, I am considering installing it for those rare occasions when I lose my phone or if it gets stolen.

  26. MissTicklebritches says:

    I just hope that the person who was mugged is alright. I can’t imagine how terrifying that must have been.

  27. r.hinojosa says:

    I would rather lose an iphone than my life. Consider yourself lucky!

  28. Djeet says:


    Maybe you could try something like that? Where the cops confront, not you of course.

  29. einstoch says:

    I’d suggest contacting the credit card company that you used to purchase the iPhone. Many credit cards have a Buyer Protection Feature that in case of a stolen item, they will cover the purchase price for up to $1000 dollars.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      @einstoch: Nice suggestion – there’s typically a time limit on those benefits, but it’s cheaper than filing a homeowner’s insurance claim or something like that.

    • secretoftheeast says:

      @einstoch: I was about to suggest the same thing. Most CC’s will actually help you out, even if you aren’t necessarily aware of that benefit.

      Two personal success stories below:
      My house was burglarized a while back, and one of the things they stole (a video camera) was only a week old. I filed a claim with insurance, and I called the CC company just to see what was possible, and they offered to pay the deductible.

      One of my coworkers a month back had her GPS stolen from her car shortly after purchasing it. I had her call the CC company and they credited it back.

      I think this benefit generally comes from the fraud protection almost every card provides.

  30. mcjake says:

    Try the “we have drugs and hot chicks over here dude. You need to get here now!” Text message with the cops waiting with you. It’s worked before…

  31. Russ Savage says:

    just mosey on down to a pawn shop, buy a gun, and hold someone up for THEIR iphone.. pay it forward.

  32. ForrestWhitakersLazyEye says:

    I love how AT&T jumped right on board with wiretapping the government was requesting, yet won’t help a customer track their phone when it’s stolen.

  33. wickedpixel says:

    could try the “send the thief a text message saying you have drugs and women” method of recovery?


  34. uncle_dan says:

    I was going for the baiting method but the battery is dead and I forgot to give them my charger

  35. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    I’m gonna go ahead and blame the victim. I mean, he shoudl have known that when he stole the phone that he’d have to get ATT. I have one, I love it but still. He just should have just waited for the Google Phone and stole that.


  36. emis says:

    Google Latitude.

    I can see where my phone is to within 2500 meters, even w/ no GPS signals (it’s based on tower triangulation).

    It’s not available for iPhone yet, but it’s available for other models like Blackberry.

    It won’t tell you exactly where your phone is, but it gives you a very good idea…

  37. Wis Tungsten says:

    If you bought it on a credit card, they sometimes have theft coverage for a short period after purchase. Have a look at your credit card terms. I know American Express tends to have this, not as sure about other cards.

  38. midwestkel says:

    He needs to try something like the guy did on Gizmodo. Texted the phone with a friends phone saying he has girls and drugs at a party and see if they take the bait. []

  39. Nick Highland says:

    This is one reason the new Google Latitude program will be helpful.

    I wonder if it would be possible to use Google Latitude on a pre-paid phone. If so, you could leave it in your car, and if your car was stolen you’d know exactly where it was. Cheaper than Lowjack.

  40. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    This won’t happen if you install the Chuck Norris app. It kicks the shit out of the thief for you.

  41. chris_d says:

    It’s technically possible to track the phone. If it’s ever turned on again, it will register with a cell site. Verizon has this usage analysis feature and you can see where calls were made from. It will give you a general location, but they know the exact tower. I’m sure it’s the same for att.

    If the police contact the right engineers at ATT, they can find the phone for you as soon as the robber turns it on. But it’s ATT and they only seem interested in helping when they’re paid big bucks and it’s against the law (i.e. the warrantless wiretapping program paid for by taxpayers).

  42. jmndos says:

    Technically, an Iphone is trackable because of AGPS, I’m not sure why there isnt a low-jack feature where it contacts the apple server with its position when enabled.

    As for the phone, well since you got it from ATT its IMEI number can be used to blacklist the phone so the thief basically has a brick, unless he changes the IMEI somehow(a felony) or ships it to a country that doesnt respect international IMEI lists, like IRAN.

    • uncle_dan says:


      ATT explicitly told me that they can not blacklist or flag the IMEI number. They told me that anyone could throw their sim in there and use it, and the only way it would come to anyones attention is if the police happen to call in and check on it while it is in use.

      I know its BS, but that’s what I was told.

  43. 4phun says:

    To the Guy Who Mugged Me For My Wife’s iPhone :

    I am the guy with the black Burberry jacket that you demanded I
    hand over, shortly after you pulled the knife on me and my wife You
    also asked for my wife’s iPhone, her purse and her earrings.

    I hope you somehow come across this message. I’d like to

    I didn’t expect you to crap your pants when I drew my pistol
    after you took my jacket. Truth is, I was wearing the jacket for a
    reason that evening, and it wasn’t that cold outside. You see, my wife
    had just bought me that Kimber 1911 .45 ACP pistol, and we had just
    picked up a shoulder holster for it that evening.

    Beautiful pistol,

    It’s a very intimidating weapon when pointed at your head, isn’t

    I know it probably wasn’t a great deal of fun walking back to
    wherever you’d come from with that brown sludge flopping about in your
    pants. I’m sure it was even worse since you also ended up leaving your
    shoes, Alltel cell phone, and wallet with me. I couldn’t have you
    calling up any of your buddies to come help you try to mug us again.
    I took the liberty of calling your mother, or “Momma” as you had her
    listed in your cell, and explaining to her your situation. I also
    bought myself some gas on your card. I gave your shoes to one of the
    homeless guys over by Smiths restaurant, along with all of the cash in
    your wallet, then I threw the wallet itself in a dumpster.

    I called a bunch of phone sex numbers from your cell. They’ll be
    on your bill in case you’d like to know which ones. Alltel recently
    shut down the line, and I’ve only had the phone for a little over a
    day now, so I don’t know what’s going on with that. I hope they
    haven’t permanently cut off your service. I was about to make some
    threatening phone calls to the DA’s office with it. Oh well.

    So, about your pants…..I know that I was a little rough on you
    when you did this whole attempted mugging thing, so I’d like to make
    it up to you. I’m sure you’ve already washed your pants, so I’d like
    to help you out. I’d like to reimburse you for the detergent you
    used on the pants. What brand did you use, and was it liquid or

    I’d also like to apologize for not killing you and instead
    making you walk back home humiliated. In the future I’m hoping that you’ll
    reconsider your choice of path in life. Next time you might not be
    so lucky.

    If you read this message, email me and we’ll do lunch and



  44. jhurley03 says:

    I used to work at ATT, in the customer service dept. The best thing to do is report it as stolen and if the guy tries to register the phone, it will show up as stolen. I would also call Apple.

    Customer service has no way of tracking your phone. There might be a special dept at ATT that might be able to track it.

    Sometimes people would call in and ask if we could track there phone and I would tell them no. There is a reason that customer service can’t track your phone, it’s called your privacy.

  45. itsbetteronamac says:

    The exact same thing happened to me last summer — and I got my iPhone back!

    – Do NOT cancel your phone

    – Talk to the police and make sure they have all your information regarding your phone, and have them contact AT&T.

    -AT&T won’t be able to track your phone, unless it’s an emergency (which it’s not)

    -Make sure you get the numbers of every person your thief calls and gets calls from. (Give them to the police)

    -Make sure you find a receipt from your purchase with the S/N on it. It will help if they catch the guy and you are hoping to get reimbursed for your phone.

    The longer you can keep your phone connected, the better chance you have of finding them. Additionally, if they took a credit or debit card, the police can use the “Card Activity” to help track down the guy who stole your phone.

    Best of luck.

  46. uncle_dan says:

    itsbetteronamac – I appreciate the advice. Password protection backfired on me here. The thief can’t make calls, receive texts or anything except take incoming calls.

  47. Squeezer99 says:

    time to get a concealed carry weapons permit

  48. Silversmok3 says:

    Sadly, phone companies arent motivated to find lost phones. Your contract is independent of the telephone itself, so AT&T doesnt care if your phone gets crushed-they still get paid.

    And the Police?Id honestly rather they devote time to murders and car theft before tracking someone’s iPhone.

    Rest assured, that jacked iPhone has been hacked or wiped already, and will be sold either on Ebay or under the table soon if it hasn’t been pitched already.

  49. spittingangels says:

    Apple’s policy in the past has been to provide the requested information to an investigator once they have received proof of a police report. It’s not typical for them to provide any info directly to the end user. They will request the end user have the police get in touch with them.

    I know nothing of AT&T’s policy but it doesn’t surprise me they would not be cooperative, even to the police.

  50. mannymix03 says:

    @undefined: @jimconsumer:
    When you actually get married and have a real life you will realize that you need to work together and concede some points to your wife. Sorry that you seem to be back in the middle ages where women are only to satisfy men and need to “STFU” as you said.

    When your balls actually drop and you become a man you will realize that having a loving relationship with your wife and not pissing her off is a little more important than owning a gun and trying to show that you aren’t whipped.

    Marriage is about working together, try getting married and learning it instead of just lurking consumerist comments and calling people out because they are responsible thinking adults who care more about their marriage than owning a gun

  51. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Carry a bigger gun. Has always worked for me. Robbers/thieves never jack the guy with a pistol on his hip. Or a shotgun in his truck.

  52. cmgaviao says:

    I think I may hold the record for shortest ownership of a 3g. I had just bought it and was on my way home on the train (maybe 20 mins of total ownership) when 1 stop before my stop it was ripped out of my hands by a punk. I had payed for it with my AmEx card so it was insured. What was not insured was the 6 hour wait i had spent in line to get it. And since my old phone was pretty much dead I STUPIDLY made the snap decision to chase the guy down. I was lucky caught the guy and got my phone back with no harm done. However, it got me thinking… why can’t there be an app that runs in the background that hourly sends an email with the phones gps coordinates?

    Thanks so much apple for not letting us do background apps.