“Find my iPhone”
So my phone went missing Saturday night, March 1st 2014, either during or shortly after my last set at Jimmy’s on the James. That place has always been like a second home, even when I’d been gone for a few months, I came back to the same audience and community that had loved me long before I left. I have seen posted numerous places on Facebook that you aren’t doing something right if you don’t have any haters, and it is no secret I have a few, but I never translated the idea of “haters” into potential “thieves” until last night.
There was a table of customers at my show, only one or two who I knew, that did not seem like they were necessarily there to support my music and my band. My phone sat with my things at the front table near all our gear, and at the end of my set I ran to the bathroom and came back to pack up my things. My friends and long time fans had been sitting there when I left so I didn’t notice the missing phone as anything alarming right off the bat, I had assumed like friends had done in the past, when they left the table of things, they carried personal possessions that were there with them. It wasn’t until 30 minutes later when the place cleared out and I began inquiring who picked it up that I became concerned. When we tried to call the phone and it was off, having arrived at Jimmy’s at 8pm fully charged, I started to get that feeling…you know the one that tells you something isn’t right.
Now here is how “Find my iPhone” really works. At the restaurant, we were able to call my phone and it continued to go into voicemail. Since Jimmy’s doesn’t have wifi, I had to wait to get home to try and track my phone. Had I believed my gut about the theft, I should have ran next door and found wifi to track my phone that was on (as it was ringing before it dumped into vm) but by the time I got home the repetitive calls (I’m assuming) caused the thief to shut off the phone. When that happens, “Find my iPhone” will only return an “offline” status and a notification that action will be taken next time the phone is on the network. I knew this meant that if the thief had any cell phone savvy, they would never turn that phone back on…
Like someone PM’d me on Facebook, the Lord has definitely always guided me and protected me, even in the moments I’ve been wronged, and this individual was obviously unaware of the IOS 7 capabilities and he turned my phone on Sunday at 3:44pm. What happens with IOS7 is you have the ability to put your phone in “lock mode.” Once you do this, when the phone is turned on a message is received on the locked screen saying “This phone has been lost, please call ‘x'” and there is absolutely nothing else that can be done with the phone. It is a brick. I spent all day Sunday blacklisting the phone with the police, reporting it stolen with AT&T (meaning it can’t even be hacked and used), and studying the GPS coordinates that “Find my iPhone” provides the minute the phone is online. Here is what I had at 5pm Sunday:
And this map location:
You just don’t realize how important something like a cell phone is until it’s gone, especially since a number of years ago we all nearly did away with landlines all together. I had to screen shot these onto my iPad (which only worked when connected to wifi) and took it in the car with me to set out to Madison Heights. My thought was, maybe they had enough sense to know that a locked phone is worth the price of a brick, to them, and the just turned it off and tossed it behind this building.
So here I am, at dusk, on the side of a building shuffling thorough grass and rubble that was located next to the equipment shop that ended up being where the little red dot landed. A church was located next to the shop, so maybe I had a false sense of safety, because the back of my mind still held a few FB people who warned me about going to “certain parts of Madison Heights alone.”
Then I heard the screech of truck tires.
I glance over my shoulder and see a massive white truck with two guys in it looking very hard at me. It is amazing how quickly you can calculate things when the adrenaline is rushing and you think you are in danger. I was reaching for my keys and racing for the drivers side door of my car as I heard the truck peel into the parking lot and head for my car and I deduced that there was no way I unlock and get into my car before the driver of the truck got out of his. I still try. As I’m reaching for the handle, I glance at the driver’s face and notice a look of concern rather than anger and for a minute my guard drops. I wave a white flag with, “Hey! Do you guys own this place?” My question immediately disarms the driver who has cleverly blocked my car with the length of his vehicle. Quickly I learn it is his grandfather’s equipment store, and there had been a recent theft (ironic) and the driver and his passenger get out of the truck and help me search for my potentially abandoned iPhone.
As I get in my car, dejected that my phone was still MIA, I say a quick prayer thanking the Lord that nothing unfortunate happened to me (like FB friends had foreshadowed) and headed back home to silence. It’s amazing how attached we are to our phones and how connected we are and it’s something we’re uniquely unaware of until its gone. I called it an early night, worn out from the chase, and woke up the next day to a host of posts regarding my missing phone and GPS coordinates.
When I woke up the next day, I had a list of posts regarding the coordinates I posted above. Turns out a former coworker, lived on that road next too the pin drop along with the suspected thief (that was sent in PM’s to me over the course of the night). I sat at my computer and realized that the thief had turned on my phone, saw that “lost phone” message and decided to not return the phone; this was definitely theft. So I started to think like the thief. If I lifted an iPhone my goal was probably to make a few bucks selling it. If this thief had any tech sense, they’d have figured out the phone in “lock mode” is now worth nothing to them but it was worth $800 to me. Someone on FB said, why don’t you offer a reward and I immediately posted a status saying anyone who “found” my phone would be given $100 (1/8th of what the phone was worth to me since I found out there was no insurance on the phone).
Friends posted, re-posted and I heard nothing but I did hear from my online jobs who were needing to reach me via phone and I didn’t have one. I waited a few hours and ended up on the snow-day at AT&T replacing my stolen phone with a phone from the Next Plan. Essentially, the replacement phone was a lease as I didn’t have the $800 to shovel out for a new phone I could own and I took my shiny new champagne colored iPhone 5S back to my apartment that afternoon to receive a phone call at 4:30 where the caller was saying to me, “you’re never going to believe this…”
Talking on the replacement phone I was forced to get two days later for work, the voice on the other end said they got in touch with my former coworker, informed him of the reward, and this individual said he had my phone and wanted his reward. I sat there stunned. I was getting my phone back, I’d already gotten a new phone, this person had my phone or immediate access to it and I used to be his manager ten years ago and his co-worker last year at Jimmy’s on the James. He had been there the night it went missing and now he “found” it. When the phone was brought back to the restaurant that night at 5pm, this person was shown the GPS satellite location, along with the GPS map that was produced when my phone was turned on the next day and he appeared surprised that you could pinpoint a phone location and it pinned my phone suspiciously close to where these two individuals lived and worked. He still took the reward money in exchange for my phone he brought, and left. I can’t help but wonder how those men would feel if someone came to the ones car wash shop in Madison Heights or the others new restaurant on 29 and “found” one of their phones or other items of value?