August 4, 2012
How The Internet Helped One Journalist Find His Missing iPhone
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Thanks to the Internet and the hard work of the men and women at the Maryland police department, a New York Times tech columnist was reunited with the iPhone that he discovered missing earlier this week.
According to the Associated Press, New York Times columnist David Pogue first noticed that his Apple smartphone was missing while riding a train home from Philadelphia following an assignment. Pogue wrote on Thursday that he had just arrived at Bridgeport, Connecticut when he noticed the device was gone.
"The Amtrak conductor held the train for about two minutes and helped me search around my seat -- nowhere. She dialed it from her own phone, too -- no ringing sound, and nobody answered. As the train pulled away, I used the Apple app, Find My iPhone, on my laptop to see where the phone was. It said that the phone was 'offline.' In other words, somebody had my phone -- it wasn´t lying under a seat somewhere -- and had turned it off," he said.
"I spent three days going through the five stages of phone loss -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and kicking myself. Then, suddenly Thursday, Find My iPhone sent me an e-mail, saying that the phone was back online and had been located," Pogue added. "It was in Seat Pleasant, Md., which my Twitter followers informed me is a rough neighborhood. The app created a map so I could see the house where my phone was supposedly sitting."
CNN Money's Julianne Pepitone described in more detail exactly what went down. On Thursday, at approximately 11:30am ET, Pogue sent out a tweet about the missing phone, and shortly thereafter used Apple's phone-locating software to try and track it down. Once the Maryland location was revealed, Pepitone said that the technology blog Gizmodo posted a story about the writer's woes, while also attempting to digitally track the device.
The website posted information about the phone's whereabouts and contacted local police officials. At 2:25pm, one officer (who is not being identified) offered to investigate. Pogue continually pinged the phone in an attempt to help the officer hear it and discover its location.
By 5pm, the police had located the phone, and an officer sent a Tweet to Pogue to let him know it had been found, Forbes Staff Writer Brian Caulfield explained. CNN said that the officers promised to FedEx the iPhone back to its rightful owner, who has said that he does not intend to press charges.
"What an unbelievable story," Pogue said. "What a mind-blowing ride. It´s a story of social media and the Web, teaming up with law enforcement, following a tip from the Find My iPhone feature – to reclaim my lost phone five hours after I tweeted about it."
"I´m ridiculously lucky. Lucky to have so many Twitter followers. Lucky that they cared enough to get involved. Lucky that the police didn´t give up, and thought about searching the yard," he added. "Lucky, and grateful. Very, very grateful."