I recently had my new iPhone 4S stolen. I made a trip to my local waste disposal facility on Saturday and it must have fallen out of my pocket while I was pulling heaps of recycling out of my car. After realising I must have dropped the phone, I drove back and from the time I left to the time I returned, no more than 30 minutes pass and my phone was gone, obviously. I tried calling it but the phone appeared to have been shutoff.
Unfortunately, I hadn't enabled the iCloud service and Find My iPhone - only had the phone for a month - but I had setup the Find My Friends app so that my wife and I could track each other for a laugh. Amazingly enough, about 6 hours after losing my phone, it showed up, no more than 1/2 a block from the waste facility. I watched it remain relatively stationary for 3 hours and then it became unavailable again.
I drew up some flyers the next day and canvassed the area where I suspected the phone to be. Imagine my surprise when, after talking with some people in the vicinity, I discovered that the suspect house was owned by someone who works at the waste facility. So what are the odds of that?
I filed an incident report with the police and went back to the waste facility to speak with the employee. He obviously denied everything and even though our conversation remained civil, I just had a sinking feeling that he was lying to me and let's face it, the GPS led me to his house.
I think what frustrates me the most is the lack of co-operation from the phone company and Apple. It would be ridiculously easy for Apple to track serial numbers. Everytime the phone is connected to a computer to sync or the person uses the iTunes/AppStore apps, the serial number should be sent to Apple with the user's corresponding information. The suspect serial number would be compared to a list of serial numbers from phones reported as stolen. Upon successful match, Apple could then issue a query to a national stolen phone registry (maintained by the authorities - we have one here in Canada) and if there is another match, they could contact the original owner of the phone telling them to contact the police. Apple would generate a claim entry in some sort of CMS and forward a ticket number to the police for them to use when requesting the data (e.g. ISP provided IP address, time of access, machine name/MAC/private LAN IP, etc.) This way, it's the authorities that have to request the information from Apple, as it should be. A similar sort of system could be put in place by the phone companies as well, but using the IMEI.
A system such as what I described above would prevent legally acquired second hand phones from triggering police intervention, protect the suspect party's personal information until the police request it, and provide an efficient and effective way to recover stolen phones. It's astonishing that such a simple system doesn't already exist. Most of the key components are already in place.
Anyhow, I'm hoping the police recover the phone now that I've been able to identify the suspect but I have my doubts.
I really hate dishonest people.