Lost My iPhone App May Not Locate Your Stolen iPhone

A stolen iPhone may be hard to find, even with the Lost My iPhone App, and here’s why. The app does not work well with a computer.

This weekend I worked at the Bay Area Trade Show, and my phone disappeared somewhere between the  Convention Center and the Hilton Hotel when I checked in.

You probably know how that feels.

As panic sets in, I tried to solve the mystery of my stolen iPhone the old-fashioned way. I retraced my steps. Not finding it in either my friend’s county vehicle or the Convention Center booth, I checked in at all the places – security, information booth, sales office, registration. Even calling my phone produced no results. I reasoned that the sound was off.

Then I went back to my hotel room and started tracking my phone with Lost My iPhone.

stolen iPhone

 

So the long night began. I called my husband. I watched my phone travel. Tracking was less than accurate. And I could not maneuver the map if I enlarged it. The stolen iPhone disappeared.

I put the phone on Lost Phone Mode which displayed a message on the screen stating that whoever found it should call my husband. No one called.

stolen iPhone

After You Try Everything Else Call the Police

Finally, I called the Santa Clara Police, not 911, but the office number. The dispatcher transferred me to Officer Gutierrez. After I had explained my story, he asked me to email him pictures of the location. Then, he tracked it based on the locations on my computer images to a Hertz Rental Car parking lot. But he could not tell exactly where it was because the map photos were vague and without many street names or exact addresses. Hertz had closed for the night, and the phone had stayed put for a long time, so I went to bed.

By the next morning, my phone had moved. I sent the map to Officer Gutierrez in an email and went to the Convention Center to work at the Travel Show. When I came home, the map looked like this. The map displayed the phone’s entire course. By this time the phone had about 16% battery life remaining.

Stolen iPhone

The screen showed that it was at the hotel, then it started moving again.
I emailed pictures to Officer Gutierrez. He followed up, but the address wasn’t very accurate. He asked if I would trust him with my password so he could chart the movement more precisely on his phone than I had done on my computer. He followed the phone to IHOP. The green dot indicated that the stolen iPhone was in a white van. He found it in a car, the same car that he had seen parked at the hotel.

The Crime Scene Stolen iPhone Found

Officer Gutierrez went into IHOP ready to arrest the thief.
“Are you driving a white van?” he asked the thief.
“Yes,”
“Are you police personnel?”
“No.”
“That van is a police vehicle. Come with me.”
Office Gutierrez places his hand on his gun holstered on his hip. The thief followed Officer Gutierrez out to the van labeled 564.
“A lady’s cell phone is missing and she wants her stolen iPhone back! I tracked it to this van.”
“OH, Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. It’s always about Marsha.”
“What’s your relationship with this woman?”
“We rode up here together for the Bay Area Travel Show. Here’s my ID. Want me to take it to her?”
“NO! I’ll take it back to her.”
stolen iPhone
Officer Gutierrez arrived at my door, and I let him into the hotel room. He did not smile.
“Did you find my phone?”
He pulled it out of his pocket and handed it to me. I hugged him and said thank you. I could have cared less where it had been or who had it. It was back. But then, I thought about his words,”I hate thieves. I’m going to get your cell phone back.”
“What happened? Did you get the guy? Did you take him to jail?”
“The guy was very nice. His name is Eric Coyne.”
“OH my gosh, that is an administrator in Tulare County. I rode here with him.”
I started to laugh. Officer Gutierrez cracked a smile.
stolen iPhone

Resolution

The phone had fallen under his driver’s seat, not the passenger seat. The sound on my phone was off, so I couldn’t hear the phone when I looked. Officer Gutierrez could barely hear the alarm when he sounded the buzzer. The Deputy County Administrator, Economic Development, Film & Tourism at County of Tulare County, Eric Coyne was a great sport, of course. Officer Gutierrez did not arrest him.

I can’t tell you how relieved I was to get my stolen iPhone back. A phone is like our identity. I felt like I was living back in the 60s without it.

I am so grateful to Officer Gutierrez for taking the time to hunt down my stolen iPhone that I might never have found otherwise even though it was in the car with me. He is a gem, and I hope the Santa Clara Police Department is are as proud of him as I am grateful for him.

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