Got my stolen iPad back - with Find My iPhone!

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Torchwood, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. Torchwood macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    #1
    I laughed when I read the SF Chronicle story about the thief who was apprehended when he stole an iPhone being used as part of a law enforcement GPS demo - and some posters were speculating that this was part of a publicity stunt by the company. Well, a very similar event just happened to me - only I have absolutely zero links to any tech company.

    I just flew back from a family vacation into JFK airport in New York, this past Sunday night (July 18). I was using my iPad during the flight, and put it in the seat pocket when we were coming in for landing, when you have to "stow all electronic devices". With the delay in getting to the gate, and in the tumult of getting off the plane, I forgot all about the iPad... until we were heading home. (And yes, I know I'm an idiot and entirely to blame.) I called Jet Blue - the plane had already been serviced and was heading off to Buffalo, NY. The new flight crew checked the seat pocket - no iPad. I then remembered I had the "Find My iPhone" app on my iPhone 3GS (I'm still trying to get the 4!) It showed the iPad was still on the runway and it was probably en route to Buffalo. I sent numerous messages/sound alerts to the iPad with no reply.

    The next morning, to my surprise, "Find My iPhone" showed it was at a street address in Brooklyn. I called the police, who couldn't believe I knew where it was. A detective took down the facts and I gave her the information about the street address, while she found out the names and home addresses of everyone who serviced the plane the previous night. I kept using "Find My iPhone" and the iPad stayed put. At noon on Tuesday the 20th, Detective Pelzer called and asked me to confirm the iPad was still at the street address and for the serial number. Thanks to Apple email receipts and the app, I was able to give her both pieces of information within minutes. She told me she was on stakeout outside the apartment, and that "Find My iPhone" had pinpointed the exact address! At 5 PM, I saw the iPad was back at JFK. I called Detective Pelzer, who informed me that it was sitting on her desk - they'd apprehended the thief outside her building, got a confession, and were given the iPad. An hour later, i was at the police station, and the iPad was back in my possession - in less than 48 hours!

    Apple encourages people to think different. Over the past two days, everyone whose been a part of these events now "thinks different" about Apple. My colleagues at the hospital where I work were simply amazed that I could keep tabs on my missing iPad with an iPhone app in between patients. The police couldn't believe how Apple technology enabled me to tell them exactly where the iPad was, and how they were able to successfully close a case in record time. A would be thief and co-workers learned a very hard lesson and will hopefully think differently and do the right thing next time. And I, a longtime Apple user, learned that just when I thought I'd seen it all, Apple can still evoke the same awe and excitement in me as it first did 27 years ago. It's not hyperbole or a "reality distortion field" - Apple really makes products that enable people to do magical and revolutionary things - and these events have now personally convinced the people involved more effectively than media hype, ads, or Apple fanboys like myself ever could.

    Apple wants to change the world; today, it happened to change my world, and I thank everyone at Apple.

    P.S. I know there will still be doubting Thomases out there, so attached are two jpgs - a screen capture I sent to Det. Pelzer showing where my iPad was, and a copy of the arrest record/property invoice from the NYPD.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    Great for you but change your title to "Got my LOST iPad back. You left it somewhere and then someone picked it up. :cool:
     
  3. aimee25 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    #3
    This is just amazing! Congratulations, your a kick ass detective and you have inspired me to buy mobile me :eek:
     
  4. pelicanflip macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Location:
    NYC
    #4
    Cool story, but your iPad wasn't stolen by a thief.

    You left your iPad...on a plane. And someone picked it up after you left the plane, the terminal, and the airport. I wouldn't call that a thief, I call that someone really lucky to come across an iPad.

    It's not like it was an iPhone where the person who found it could try calling someone.
     
  5. melman101 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #5
    I pass by Howard and Sutter all the time. LOL! :).

    Anyway, congrats. I wish I could have Find My iPhone/iPad, but it's not worth it to pay that much money for just that feature.

    Also, did you have a 3G or WiFi only iPad?
     
  6. fuseone macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #6
    have to agree you left it sit somewhere. if some one dropped money somewhere and you didnt know who it was would you just take it to the police and say you found this it should go back to the person?
     
  7. Torchwood thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    #7
    Although I did lose it through my own carelessness, the airport and airlines policy is that any passenger items that are found on the plane must be turned in and apparently there is a zero tolerance policy for infractions. In real life however, it seems "finders keepers" tends to be the rule. Although I do feel badly for the thief, I did send numerous messages and devices to the iPad requesting its return with my contact information - which that person chose to repeatedly ignore. (Use "Send a message/sound alert" to your iDevice and see what happens - the alarm goes off for two minutes and can only be silenced if you hit the power switch, while the message stays on the screen like a text. It's difficult to ignore and you have to take deliberate action to silence a potentially embarrassing and annoying situation) The other major problem according to the police, was that it was removed from JFK airport and taken to the person's house, again, with no attempt made to return it. This is when it clearly crossed the line to a crime.
     
  8. JCT macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    #8
    Are you kidding? Taking and keeping things that you know do not belong to you is theft. So the guy who took it couldn't have turned it in to the airline?

    Boy, so this "lucky" guy must be very unlucky that the police didn't see it this way.

    Nice morals, or lack thereof.
     
  9. eddy64 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #9
    Wow you guys are rediculous. This was 100% STOLEN. Just because someone finds something, does NOT entitle them to keep it. The person should have reported it to Jet Blue or to the airlines or to the police. Im also sure that there was information on the ipad about the owner. I know this seems unrealistic in today's world, but finding an item does not mean that it it yours. If I find an iPhone 4 on the ground or at a store, does that mean that it is mine?
    This was stolen, and I am happy that the owner was able to recover it. Congratulations, thats awesome!
     
  10. guitargoddsjm macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Location:
    MA
    #10
    Awesome story!

    My girlfriend and mom both got iPads... Maybe I could get a mobileme family pack. If not, here's to hoping Apple releases a free version!
     
  11. bigjnyc macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #11
    Thats pretty cool and you got really lucky because they were able to cross check against employees who serviced the plane, otherwise they wouldn't have known which apartment the ipad was in. The feature just tells you the building address, but some buildings in NYC have hundreds of apartments.
     
  12. likemyorbs macrumors 68000

    likemyorbs

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #12
    hey guys, i have a quick question. what if the thief had turned the iPad off? would it have ever been found through find my iphone? cant see how that would be possible...
     
  13. Torchwood thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    #13
    I have the 3G with the GPS, thank goodness. And again, there are airline and airport policies regarding found passenger property - that it has to be reported and turned into the baggage office for that airline. And unlike money or other valuables, this did have my personal identifiers on it, so it's much harder for someone to claim that they had no idea whose it was. The bottom line is that it was removed from the airport with no attempt at following lost property procedure. As I said, I do feel badly for the person, but following these rules are part of this person's job, and they chose not to follow them. It would've been a different story if the person turned it in, and then the iPad disappeared from the baggage office.

    I look on my story more as a cautionary tale for would be thieves - there are devices out there with GPS and if you steal it, you will probably get busted.
     
  14. carlclarke macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    England.
    #14
    Funny world isn't it? You find something that clearly doesn't belong to you and you steal it from your place of work - but somehow it isn't theft?

    A person servicing or cleaning the aircraft would have a procedure from their employer for dealing with lost property. I cant imagine the instructions are to take anything looking valuable back to your home... People do leave things away from their bodies both mistakenly and intentionally, in a perfect world they should expect to be able to return and retrieve them.

    Now where did I park my car? :confused:

    Carl.
     
  15. GadgetAddict macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #15
    Ok, so you said

    and the OP said

    No further comment necessary...

    That said, awesome story!!!
     
  16. pelicanflip macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Location:
    NYC
    #16
    GadgetAddict - honestly, I'm not too familiar with how MobileMe works, so if someone obviously tried to contact me about returning their iPad, I would.

    I misread the OP and didn't notice the part about the numerous messages sent to the iPad.


    But still, you've gotta admit: leaving your iPad on a plane, then leaving the terminal, and then the airport? Bigggg mistake. Be careful next time with your iPad.
     
  17. ChocolateApple macrumors 6502

    ChocolateApple

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #17
    Wondered If It Would Work

    Good story. Thanks for sharing. I was wondering how the Find My iPhone/Pad feature would actually work -- especially in NY with so many buildings. You were fortunate to have a detective willing to assist, and a thief who probably gave up after not being able to figure out how to unlock it.

    Mobile Me is $100/year, but the cost to replace an iPad is over $500 or whatever the cost of an insurance deductible is. I think your way worked better. You retrieved your personal one with all of your data, swiftly.
     
  18. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #18
    Great. Congrats. I almost left my iPad at an airport once.

    Exactly. Most people play too much RPG games and doesn't realize games =/= life.
     
  19. ChocolateApple macrumors 6502

    ChocolateApple

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #19
    My thoughts exactly. The finder feature probably works best for honest finders who respond to the sent messages from the owner.
     
  20. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #20
    Very cool you got your ipad back. Very surprised a NYC detective gave this any of their time.
     
  21. ChocolateApple macrumors 6502

    ChocolateApple

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #21
    Thief Alarm

    Heads up to others: Get the AppToolKit app, and use the Thief Alarm. I don't think it would have worked in this case, but if you casually place your iDevice down while doing something else, it's a great way to prevent theft. If anyone grabs it, a motion alarm is set off. The device's screen flashes, and can only be deactivated by a code that you set.

    This is an iPhone app, but I'm going to put it on my iPad also.
     
  22. gatearray macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    #22
    Yes, congrats on retrieving your stolen iPad back and doing it with such style and grace! Ignore the immoral 12 year old finders keepers posts here, these guys would be whistling a different tune if it were their iPad that was lifted. That Find My iPhone is pretty amazing stuff to be sure, and I bet I will tell your amazing story to someone at some point if for no other reason than to blow their mind.

    However, it reminds me of something that has bothered me about the service from the beginning, which is that it's so easily disabled if the thief knows about it's existence in the OS of the iDevice. For the life of me I can't figure out why Apple doesn't put it behind a second wall of protection for those of us who like to roll without a passcode lock to begin with, or better yet, why isn't it turned on and off when connected through iTunes or something else verifiable from our respective Apple ID and password.

    It's like having the on/off switch for the car alarm on the outside of the car, perhaps hidden a little bit under the wheelwell, but still, anyone who owns that make/model can easily find it in two seconds and steal your ride!
     
  23. pelicanflip macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Location:
    NYC
    #23
    Interesting, does it only flash the screen or does it set off an alarm sound as well?
     
  24. ChocolateApple macrumors 6502

    ChocolateApple

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    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #24
    It sets off an alarm as well.
     
  25. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    #25
    It could probably be deactivated by pushing the home button too (unless it can lock you in the app? don't think that's possible in the current iSDK?)?
     

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