Michael B. Duff

Lubbock's answer to a question no one asked

iPhones are great until they get stolen

Probably the closest this blog will ever come to breaking news.

I was robbed about an hour ago. Forgot to lock my door back after a guest left this afternoon, so this kid walked right in and woke me up while he was taking the iPhone off my nightstand.

He crouched down beside my bed and froze when he saw me move. I actually touched his head before he took off running. He had the presence of mind to take my USB cord and my microphone adapter and discard the headphones as he took off.

He even took the power supply from my modem for some reason.

The cops just left, after dusting for prints. I didn’t know they actually did that.

And here’s another thing they don’t tell you on CSI. Eye-witness accounts are useless. I saw the guy for half a second and gave a description that is worse than useless. I reported a teenager in a t-shirt, when they catch him he’ll probably be 50 years old in a tux.

The odds of them finding it are less than zero, and the fancy iPhone data-wipe thing only applies to Enterprise accounts for large corporations.

You can’t get phone insurance for the iPhone through AT&T, and even if I did, theft is not covered under phone insurance or AppleCare.

And the nifty price discounts you get when you first buy a phone are a new contract price. If you need to replace one you pay full retail, to the tune of $700.

Apple and AT&T won’t be much help if your phone gets stolen, but Visa might. If your item is lost or stolen within 90 days of purchase, you can file a claim with Visa and try to get some kind of compensation. I don’t know what information they need or how much they can do yet, but I filed a claim electronically and we’ll see if anything comes of it.

Note that this claim will only refund the contract price I paid AT&T, NOT the full retail replacement price I’ll have to pay to get a new one.

Oh, and if you get robbed, for god’s sake don’t touch anything. They could have gotten better prints if I hadn’t touched the door immediately after the guy ran out.

Being a paranoid techno-junkie, I immediately started spinning conspiracy theories about location snooping and the dangers of in-phone GPS. But more likely this is just a neighborhood kid who saw me using this thing every morning or maybe just a random crime of opportunity.

And yes, those of you who think this is karmic retribution for bragging about stuff last week, I assure you the irony is not lost on me.

I’ve learned first-hand that iPhones are hot right now, and there’s a price to be paid for following technology fads. Just like guys in BMWs have to be careful to park in the right spot and lock their doors, people with expensive gadgets need to be discreet and keep their eyes open.

I could give you 800 more words about security issues and identity theft, but the first step is to lock your damn door.

UPDATE: Ha! He also took the old iPod Nano that was on my desk. I guess I better call the cops back.

UPDATE: I can’t sleep, for obvious reasons, so I’m amusing myself by thinking up “Things I Should Have Said to the Cops.”

“You couldn’t find him outside, so can we do a house to house search now? Pulling neighbors out of bed and randomly torturing people until somebody cracks? No? Stupid Constitution.”

“Okay, so how does this work? Do you guys have a signal or can I just call Batman directly?”

“My friends on the Internet say the NSA has been implanting wireless tracking chips in every electronic device made since the 70s. Who do I call to get that turned on?”

“All right, conventional law enforcement methods have failed me. I didn’t want to bring out the big guns this quick, but I’m almost angry enough to write my Congressman!

“If you guys can’t help me, could you just kind of look the other way for a week or so? I’m going to sit on my front porch with a shotgun and fire at suspicious teenagers. Don’t worry, I’ll load it with rock salt and try to shoot over their heads.”

“If you guys actually recover my phone, please don’t look too closely at the stuff you find on it.”

“Even if I get it back, there’s no way this kid will keep my music. Ten gigs of 80s hits and Aimee Mann? Do the cops have a scanner that can detect highly-concentrated amounts of Van Halen? You’d find it in ten seconds.”

“They can take my ‘Pretty in Pink” soundtrack, but they will never take my freedom.”

“There is a bright side to all this. My cell was my primary phone, so now I can’t hear my parents call and tell me how stupid I am.”

“With my Internet back on, this theft won’t reduce my workload much. Maybe I should leave my door open tomorrow and hope he comes back for the computer.”

“That phone was the closest thing I had to a meaningful relationship. I’m taking three days of Bereavement Leave.”

“I had insurance on that crappy Nokia for three years. I could leave it in the parking lot with a bow on it and go to Europe for a month. It would still be there when I got back.”

“If a Conservative is a Liberal who’s been mugged, what do you call a Libertarian who just got robbed? You call him an Idiot for letting his gun permit lapse.”

Written by Michael B. Duff

August 10, 2008 at 06:45

Posted in Apple

9 Responses

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  1. Well, I came to comment on the best article ever written in the AJ, but since then it seems you were relieved of your subject. My sincere apologies!

    I would go with the conspiracy theories on this. Maybe you were set up. Perhaps, your co-workers were worried about their angry looking photos and paid some punk to retrieve them. Maybe, he needed good 80’s music and his parents would not support his cause. Of course this is all in jest.

    I wish you luck on finding your iPhone. Keep an eye out for the kid. He is most likely a neighbor or a friend of one. See you on the Art Trail.

    April Moore

    August 10, 2008 at 10:53

  2. Thanks, April. I needed a smile this morning.


    August 10, 2008 at 11:00

  3. Michael, my eyes got teary as Vince was telling me about this. I’m serious.


    August 10, 2008 at 11:11

  4. Duff,
    This is a terrible tragedy. I was reading, Michaels blog about iPhones and how much he was beginning to enjoy his new device. Complicated as this phone may be, I could tell Duff met his match, and a welcomed one at that.

    I was reminded of a couple of videos as I was reading this terrible news. The first most likely details how one feels about their phone. The second video involves a theft deterrence feature. The only problem is the anti theft protection would need to be mortified to protect the phone.

    Cell phone passion

    Anti theft


    August 11, 2008 at 00:27

  5. Im sorry that happend… thank you for sharing … hope you have a good day!


    August 12, 2008 at 13:59

  6. Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Jesus H. Christ! Private Pyle, why is your footlocker unlocked?
    Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, I don’t know, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Private Pyle, if there is one thing in this world that I hate, it is an unlocked footlocker! You know that, don’t you?
    Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, yes, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: If it wasn’t for dickheads like you, there wouldn’t be any thievery in this world, would there?
    Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, no, sir!
    Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Get down!
    [Private Pyle steps down from the footlocker. Hartman flips open the lid with a bang.]
    Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Well now… let’s just see if there’s anything missing!
    Sergeant Hartman begins rummaging through the box, then freezes. He slowly picks up a jelly doughnut and holds it in disgust with his fingertips.
    Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Holy Jesus! What is that? What the fuck is that? What is that, Private Pyle?!


    August 12, 2008 at 15:31

  7. […] way if your phone gets lost (or stolen) you can plot its location on a map or disable it […]

  8. Wow, that would freak me out – a guy in your house, you see him, he sees you. I can’t imagine. Just saw on the news tonight a man went into an elderly woman’s house and tried to steal money – she got away luckily.

    I have no idea why people do such mean things or how to stop it, but I understand this – it must be stopped! Our society needs to figure this out.

    As for the iphone, the new 3G S promises to be a godsend in these situations.


    June 18, 2009 at 22:50

  9. […] remember abusing senior citizens in Grand Theft Auto and requesting help from Batman when my phone got stolen. I remember taking shots at Nick Denton and interviewing a Peggy Olson impersonator on […]

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