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Thread: Apple Has User's Stolen Phone, Won't Give It Back

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A Consumerist reader named "Alisa" was on a subway in Brooklyn, New York before Christmas when a thief stole several pieces of personal property, including her iPhone. She didn't go
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  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Paul Daniel Ash's Avatar
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    Default Apple Has User's Stolen Phone, Won't Give It Back


    A Consumerist reader named "Alisa" was on a subway in Brooklyn, New York before Christmas when a thief stole several pieces of personal property, including her iPhone. She didn't go to the police, she says, because she would have had to take the same subway to a precinct over an hour away. On a cold night, she’d have had to go through books of pictures trying to identify the thief even though she didn’t get a good look at him. It all seemed too big of a hassle to her, since she had a final exam the next day anyway, so she didn’t file the police report.

    Alisa went out and bought a Blackberry and moved on with her life. But right before the New Year, she suddenly received some unexpected news that led her to believe she might see her iPhone again, when she got an e-mail from Apple.

    Anyways, fast forward to yesterday when I get a email from Apple that someone had filed a request for a replacement phone due to a software malfunction from Apple CareService. I suspected that since I made an appointment with an Apple genius before, the Serial number on the phone was associated with my email. I called Apple to confirm this, after Apple and AT&T transferred me back and forth a few times I had the confirmation from the two companies the phone was mine , I had the address the service request was coming from (in the email) and a phone number (from an Apple rep).

    I’m so excited that I can get my phone back! Until the cops arrive at my house, they tell me that since I didn’t file a police report they can’t do anything.
    The New York City police do get involved in trying to help resolve the situation, though, and spend what appears to be quite a lot of time on the phone with Apple and AT&T corroborating her story. However, Apple sticks to their original response and insist that they're going to send the iPhone back to the person who requested the service.

    The officer spends about an hour on the phone with Apple telling them that once the current holder of the phone ships the phone back to Apple, they should ship me the replacement. He gets the same answer I got–they will not do anything, they do not care that the person who has the phone currently is using a stolen phone and is not using it with AT&T (AT&T confirmed the phone # I got from the Apple rep is NOT an AT&T number).
    It's completely understandable that the theft victim is frustrated and even outraged. However, it's difficult to fault Apple in this situation, as it seems like they'd have a hard time proving that Alisa's story is true. It does seem maddening, though: you get your phone stolen and the thief (or the guy who bought it from the thief) is getting warranty service on your purchase.

    image via thenextweb

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  3. #2
    Green Apple
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    Well im sure the police could get apple to say where teh phone is being shipped to, and then make an arrest? Who knows if the phone wasnt already sold? It is a sticky situation.

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    ok but she dident file a police report!!!
    the worst mistake you can ever make!
    You could have SOLD the iPhone then said it was stolen and without the police report on file there is no way to prove that you are telling the truth......
    and one more thing...
    ALL SUBWAYS HAVE CAMERAS!!! TELL THE POLICE AND THEY WILL PULL THE TAPES AND IT COULD VERIFY YOUR STORY?!?!

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    Livin the iPhone Life steve-z17's Avatar
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    Yeah that would suck to be in that situation. I think Apple's right to not get involved, otherwise a lot more of these would pop up with ppl claiming their phone got "stolen". I'm not saying hers didn't, it probably really did, but once they go outside of their policy for one person....

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    Green Apple
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    Yes she should have filed a police report, at least call 911 to report it. That is what I did. After you called 911 even if you can't make it to the police station, an officier will call you and get a full report and give you everything you need for future reference.
    My stolen phone showed up the same way hers did, and I right away called the officer who was reporting my case. He transferred me to the detective who's handling it, and he immediately call "Apple Corporate Security" to work with them. Apple also intercept the phone while it was being shipped and hang on to it until everything is cleared and for the phone to be returned to me.

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    I got robbed 6 days before Christmas while out of town visiting family a few years ago. You have to have a police report to get anything done. She failed to do this so while I sympathize with her, she failed to do what was necessary. Rules are in place for a reason. She failed to follow them, so tough luck. I got nowhere with my police report because the cops where I lived were worthless. Not to mention that 4 houses in that neighborhood got completely cleaned out. The only thing that wasn't stolen in those houses was the carpet, every single thing was taken.

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    The King Melech518's Avatar
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    Apple is in the right. She should have filed a report. Without a report there is no proof of any wrong doing. I wonder if she even had the phone black listed by At&t? Did she report to ANYONE that this was stolen(ie. Apple, At&t)?
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    I had something similar happen to me. My wife's phones was stolen because she misplaced it. I did not file a police report or cancel the service with AT&T to see if they made a call with the iphone and I could track it. The girl that took the phone actually made a phone call to her own cell phone. I was able to get a lot of information on her from this number from some cop buddies. I called her and spit out all the information I had on her. She left the phone with someone at a restaurant. When I get the phone back I try to press charges but since I did not file a police reporet and I had the phone it was not considered stolen.

    My 2 cents: If you find something that is not yours and you make no intention to try to return it you are STEALING.

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    In this case the ball is in the police court. If they believe the story, they can always file a report now and investigate further as appropriate.

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    Peanut Brain confucious's Avatar
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    Surely if your phone is stolen the first thing you do is report it stolen in order to cancel the contract?
    In The UK this would also get the phone blocked so no one else could use it.
    He who asks a question looks foolish for 5 minutes. He who doesn't ask a question remains foolish forever.

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    i bet she files a report next time!if it was just an average phone and i was in a rush i may have let it go without reporting it...but this is an iphone....hmmmm think im gonna get that tracking app....

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    iPhoneaholic TheOnlyest's Avatar
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    The hell you say! I never have a problem faulting Apple for EVERYTHING!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by pauldanielash View Post
    it's difficult to fault Apple in this situation
    Praise the Devs! To each and every one of you who spend your time writing code and making apps for little or no profit... Its YOU that makes the iPhone great, NOT Apple!! From me to you, a million thanks!!

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    Green Apple
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    The lack of a police report unfortunately weakens this case.

    One thing I did that would have made a difference: I bought a nice engraver off eBay and engraved my name and wife's mobile number on the back of my iPhone.

    > It provides an easy option for an honest finder to call the number and return, as unless your lock screen wallpaper is lableled, there is no easy way for someone to know how to determine the owner of a locked iPhone.

    > The engraving, unless filed or sanded off, is a constant reminder to the thief of the owner and would prove without any doubt who the owner is should it be sent to Apple.

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    iPhone? More like MyPhone matthew1111's Avatar
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    What the F apple?! Its unlocked and obviouslystolen and associated with her email adress...Wow.

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    ALIENS ARE REAL iLaw-One's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melech518 View Post
    Apple is in the right. She should have filed a report. Without a report there is no proof of any wrong doing. I wonder if she even had the phone black listed by At&t? Did she report to ANYONE that this was stolen(ie. Apple, At&t)?

    Totally agree...the least you can do is file a report (at least with the service provider) especially if the phone was gotten on a contract in the first place. I assume that over the period of time she'd've had the phone, a lot of data would've been stored on it, therefore leading anyone to want to prevent fraudulent use of the phone and thereby block it from the service provider end and that would be on record!

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    iPhoneaholic D to the M's Avatar
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    Not filing a police report is the stupidest thing i have ever heard. You can do it over the phone.

    As bad as the situation is, she will learn from this mistake.

    and she now has a wonderful pieceofshitberry.

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    iPhoneaholic andypropaganda's Avatar
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    That's a tough one. I completely understand both sides, and obviously sympathize with the poor girl. At the same time, I understand that the companies could never really prove it true, but maybe Apple shouldn't be so damn business-like during the holidays and gain some positive consumer feedback.
    iEat. iSleep. iPhone.

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    iPhone? More like MyPhone reaves205's Avatar
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    Isn't there a law about buying and receiving stolen property?

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    Cool I'd shoot a thief before a murderer..
    Who cares about a police report.. If you bought something from me and didnt get a reciept or bill of sale, witness etc.. ( even handshacks are a verbale contract with evidence)... Otherwise you just became vulnerable. Police Reports don't mean @#%$@#%!$, since they are only good for when that phone ends up in the confiscated items room, " usually of the reported county only". Ever heard of propertyroom.com... yeh hard working police officers working hard to serve you, 'stolen goods'. As for apple and carriers, OMG... they want you to buy another phone. Regardless of the evidence, and that both phone companies & carriers have plenty of evidence, its not worth the resources to add a loss prevention deprt that does man hunts for $400 phones when half the stolen phones either are not stolen or are due to being a pure !@#$%#.

    Just please stop fooling yourselves that police reports are why apple wont give a phone over. To apple, It better business. If you dont like it.. dont get jacked.

  21. #20
    iPhone? More like MyPhone jaredb03's Avatar
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    I say tough luck. It's her own fault for not reporting it stolen. It seems kinda fishy that it is easier to go buy a new blackberry instead of reporting your $500+ iPhone stolen. For all apple knows she could be trying to scam them to get a phone back that she sold on craigslist.

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