Story of my lost, then promptly stolen iPhone 6 Plus. Now, what is my best option?

Rafagon

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#1
As I mentioned in another thread, I lost my iPhone 6 Plus on Friday. As soon as I realized it was missing, I tried to locate it via Find My iPhone. The phone was offline. It didn't show up as online until late in the evening on Saturday. I should mention that as soon as I saw the phone go online, I put it in Lost Mode, and I displayed a message asking whoever was holding it to please call me at (number). I also engaged the "Play Sound" option numerous times to get the person's attention. The phone was located about 35 miles north of my location. I hadn't been anywhere near there when it was lost. (I haven't been anywhere near there in over a year or more.) I repeatedly refreshed the location of my phone and noticed that it was traveling closer and closer to my location, finally settling down about two blocks from my house. I sent a new message to be displayed on the handset, begging for my iPhone's safe return and offering kind words:

phonelost.jpg

No call. They chose to ignore my pleas.

I called the Miami Police non-emergency number. One person was no help at all. He said I had to go in person to the police department and file a report on my stolen phone. I said I don't own a car, and by the time I got there, the phone could be anywhere. He insisted that that was my only option. He was still blabbering when I hung up on him. I called a different non-emergency Police number and the gentleman who answered was very helpful. He immediately said, "Do you want us to send an officer to your house to accompany you to the location where the phone is at?" This was precisely the kind of helpful response I was hoping to hear! Of course, I said yes, but he then put me on hold.

I was transferred back to the first person—the person who was no help at all. This officer immediately hung up on me—I'm guessing he saw my caller ID, and since I had previously hung up on him, he decided to do the same to me. How professional of him.

I called the number where I'd spoken to the helpful gentleman. He said he remembered talking to me, but he couldn't help me, because my location was apparently not under his jurisdiction. He said he was sorry, but he would have to transfer me to the other number. Again, I got the idiot, and again, that person hung up on me before I could say a word.

So, apparently, if you're in one area of Miami, they will send an officer to your house so that both he and you can go together to search for your iPhone at a stranger's house, but if you're in another area of Miami, you are told to go to the police station and file a report in person.

In any case, I'm well aware that I have no hand-to-hand combat skills whatsoever, and I do not own a gun for my protection, so I decided not to walk over there and try to retrieve my phone. This story is still fresh on my mind, and I don't want to suffer that fate.

Perhaps I should've walked over to the location where my phone was at, knocked on the door, and allowed a confrontation to begin, and at that point, called 911 and requested police assistance claiming fear for my life. I'm sure that would've gotten an officer there promptly—but would it have been prompt enough to save my life, if my life had been placed in danger?

I've called AT&T and given them the IMEI of my stolen iPhone so that it can be marked as a stolen handset and never be activated and used as a cell phone. AT&T even told me that I did not have to call Verizon and Sprint to provide the IMEI; they claimed that simply reporting it to AT&T was sufficient, and that they would pass on the information on to Verizon and Sprint. I'm not sure I trust them to do all that, so I've already called Verizon and given them the IMEI of my stolen iPhone. I will call Sprint later today and provide them with the same information.

Anyhow, that's my experience, and now I will ask my question. I've placed my stolen iPhone in Lost Mode. Should I leave it in Lost Mode, or should I "Erase iPhone?" Which is better?

lostiPhone-1.png (thumbnail; click to expand)

My concern is that, if I do the Erase iPhone option, (1) I can never track it again via Find My iPhone, should it come back online, and (2) More importantly, there may be a way to restore an Erased iPhone by some kind of jailbreak-y way if I go through with the Erase iPhone option.

I'm aware that Activation Lock is there on iOS 8 to help me. But is it sufficient to prevent a jailbreak-y restore from happening no matter what?
 

Europa

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#2
Sorry about your phone, Raf. :(

There aren't any jailbreak methods that will change anything here.

If you remotely wipe, the thief will not be able to use it. They will be stuck at an activation screen without your iCloud ID/password. They can't use it now in lost mode, either. All they can do is harvest it for parts.

Erasing it is a last resort if you've given up on finding it. If you decide to erase it, you will no longer be able to track it, and therefore you would be ensuring that you wouldn't see it again. There is still a remote possiblity that they will call if you leave it in lost mode with your phone number on the screen. It's a tough decision. I'm sorry to hear that the police aren't providing any assistance, but I guess they don't have the resources.
 

Rafagon

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#3
Thank you for that information. I'm happy to learn that they cannot use it, jailbreak methods or otherwise.

I sent another message a short while ago, again asking them to please call (number), and I offered a $40 reward. I think $40 should be more valuable to them than a bricked iPhone. Then again, if they're knowledgeable about harvesting an iPhone for parts and they can get much more than $40 going that route, then I may be completely out of luck.
 

Europa

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#4
Thank you for that information. I'm happy to learn that they cannot use it, jailbreak methods or otherwise.

I sent another message a short while ago, again asking them to please call (number), and I offered a $40 reward. I think $40 should be more valuable to them than a bricked iPhone. Then again, if they're knowledgeable about harvesting an iPhone for parts and they can get much more than $40 going that route, then I may be completely out of luck.
That's exactly what I was thinking. I came back to this thread to suggest changing the message and offering a reward of $100. Good luck!
 

Kadelic

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#5
I'm really sorry to hear about that bud. I wish you the best of luck getting it back.
 
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#6
I feel for you, that is one horrible feeling knowing your phone is gone. Have you had a chance to scope out the house where you last saw the phone? Are you going to try to make it down to the police station to report it?
 

Target

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#7
There is a little mean part of me that thinks you should go get the address and send a message the your phone my cause the house located at "what ever address" to burn to the ground.

But I pushed that little mean part of me back down to the depths of reality because I wouldn't survive prison.
 

Rafagon

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#8
Have you had a chance to scope out the house where you last saw the phone? Are you going to try to make it down to the police station to report it?
Nope. And also nope. I have absolutely no faith in the idea that the police department of a big city (I live in Miami) would devote resources to a stolen iPhone.

The phone has been offline since the first (and only) night that it showed up on Find My iPhone. They may not have even seen my most recent message (where I offered the $40 reward). There are no additional e-mails from apple.com indicating the phone's surfacing.

To all: thanks for your commiseration.
 

Sharunda

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#9
@Rafagon I'm so sorry this happened to you. I hate thieves who think they've got a big come up. Eventually they will pay one way or another. My heart goes out to you. I don't wish this on my worst enemy.

The ideal thing would be to get the iPhone 6+ back but if you can't I hope you can replace it.

Two summers ago a lady stole a bracelet that was near and dear to me. I tried to get it back through the police but they failed miserably. I've seen her wearing it and I see her from time to time. I know she stole it from me. She knows she stole it from me. God saw her. Eventually she will pay one way or the other.

Thieves pay their due often unbeknownst to the victims but they do eventually pay.

Chin up @Rafagon :love:
 

Rafagon

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#10
Thieves pay their due often unbeknownst to the victims but they do eventually pay.

Chin up @Rafagon :love:
Thank you so much for your thoughts, @Sharunda. I know the first few days will be the most difficult, but soon enough I'll adjust. I've got all my limbs, my health, and approximately three-fourths of my sanity left. :D There are literally at least one or two billion people out there who've got it so much worse than I.

And hey, I may have lost a 5.5" iPhone, but that just means I'll be spending more time with my 27" iMac, right?

Chin is indeed up!
 

MrMike6by9

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#12
Thank you for that information. I'm happy to learn that they cannot use it, jailbreak methods or otherwise.
......
Sorry for your loss. If you don't mind my asking ... what did you happen to do that resulted in your phone's lose/theft? I'm asking because I'm on the "S cycle" and planning to get a PlusS but am concerned that it'll be too large for my pocket when seated and I'll be tempted to leave on a table, bar, etc. where someone could easily snatch it.
Again, sorry for your loss.
 

Rafagon

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#13
Sorry for your loss. If you don't mind my asking ... what did you happen to do that resulted in your phone's lose/theft? I'm asking because I'm on the "S cycle" and planning to get a PlusS but am concerned that it'll be too large for my pocket when seated and I'll be tempted to leave on a table, bar, etc. where someone could easily snatch it.
Again, sorry for your loss.
Thank you for your thoughts.

It was in my pocket while I walked home from a trip to a nearby liquor store, about seven blocks away from my house. It fit perfectly in the pocket of the shorts I was wearing at the time, and there was no part of the phone sticking out or anything like that. I had texted a couple of times. I have to assume that I was careless when attempting to place it back into my pocket after using it, and it must've happened as I walked on a grassy or other soft surface such that it did not make enough sound to alert me when it hit the ground.
 

Terry M.

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#17
Sorry for your loss. I can't imagine. Would it not be prudent to at least have a lost phone report on file with the police. I understand your fear of no help from the police but on the off chance that all the pieces fall into place and you get your phone back I would personally want it (a report) on file with the police so there is the slight chance of some type of punishment for the offenders.

Good luck and I hope this all works out in your favor.
 

Rafagon

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#18
Sorry for your loss. I can't imagine. Would it not be prudent to at least have a lost phone report on file with the police. I understand your fear of no help from the police but on the off chance that all the pieces fall into place and you get your phone back I would personally want it (a report) on file with the police so there is the slight chance of some type of punishment for the offenders.

Good luck and I hope this all works out in your favor.
Thank you for your wishes. I do agree that it is prudent. It's free to file a report, and it can't hurt me. I'll make some time to go over there, after I review their website very carefully to make sure I can't do it over the Internet.