By Joe Levi | July 17, 2012 8:01 AM
What would you do if your smartphone went missing? Here’s the real story of how my wife’s GSM Samsung Galaxy Nexus was “stolen” — and a bizarre turn-of events that makes me want to get new locks on my doors.
I was an early adopter and got my unlocked GSM Galaxy Nexus before a lot of other people (I still can’t thank Hashim in England enough for helping me out).
It cost the proverbial arm and a leg to get it, but in this industry you’ve sometimes got to make sacrifices.
A Pleasant Surprise
My wife wasn’t a fan of the large size, but she did like the new operating system and the bigger screen. It was also faster than her T-Mobile G2. She didn’t know, but I was saving up to get her one of her own and eventually gifted it to her after Expansys talked me out of three-quarters of a grand.
She was surprised, and elated. The new phone became her digital assistant from which she not only kept track of her contacts and took care of her communications, but it also became the thing that she used to keep her schedule and remind her of appointments and obligations.
What a Good Husband!
One beautiful Saturday morning my wife awoke before dawn to head out to a local “fresh fruits and vegetables” co-op that we belong to. I, being the amazing husband and father that I am, volunteered to stay home and take care of the kids — by sleeping in.
A few hours later, after she’d returned and unloaded all the fresh food and had gotten a good start on our Saturday activities, she mentioned that she couldn’t find her phone.
We tried calling it, but couldn’t hear it ring. We used Google Latitude to help us pin-point where it was: 24th Street in Ogden? What?!
What Were You Doing in Ogden?
Since she hadn’t been to Ogden in quite a while, it seemed odd that her phone would be there. She must have lost it at the co-op, and someone probably found it, turned it in, and gave it to one of the co-op volunteers to be returned, and that person must have an office in Ogden.
After hours of trying to find a phone number to call we finally resigned ourselves to giving up until Monday. Monday came and went with no luck, but my wife was determined, so she went to the building on 24th Street where Latitude said her phone was.
She talked to the folks at the tattoo parlor. She talked to the folks at “interesting” hair salon. She talked to folks in the office building above. No luck.
Battery Died, SIM was Killed
By now the phone’s battery was certainly dead, so we couldn’t push any “find my phone” apps to it and try to locate it.
I called T-Mobile and had them kill the SIM (and any hope of finding the phone) as a precautionary measure, then headed to the local T-Mobile store to pick up a new SIM that they gave me free of charge.
My wife wasn’t all that happy that she had to fall back to a Nexus One I had on hand as her daily driver, but it got her by.
She Wanted a New Galaxy Nexus
My wife put some money aside and decided that she wanted to replace her old Galaxy Nexus with another one — not a different make or model, which surprised me a little. Apparently the size wasn’t a problem anymore. Instead, the screen on the Nexus One was “too cramped” for her druthers.
I put in an order with Google’s Play Store and two days later she had a new Galaxy Nexus in her hands, and $399 dollars less in her purse. A somewhat expensive lesson to be certain, but almost half the price of the original phone.
The experience underscored to her the need to have some kind of lock on the phone (especially a PIN in the Play Store so people can’t buy hundreds of dollars in apps), and an “if lost please contact…” type message on the lock screen to facilitate a speedy return.
We also decided that an ounce of “install a locator app before you need it” was worth a pound of “oh crap! now what do we do?!”, so we’ve installed Lookout on all our phones and set it up so we can not only remotely locate our devices, we can remotely wipe them as well.
A Bizarre Turn of Events
The story could have ended here and it would have been better, if you ask me. Instead, a month or so later we had friends over, one of which has a teen-aged son. Apparently he lost something in the couch and went fishing for it.
He found what he was looking for, but he also came across a phone: a Galaxy Nexus. No surprise there, my wife has one and so do I.
The battery was dead, so I put it on the charger and forgot about it. Then the weirdness: my phone was in my pocket. My wife’s phone was on her desktop dock. Who had we had over that also had a Galaxy Nexus?
We turned it on only to discover that it was my wife’s phone — the one that had been “stolen”!
That really weirded us out.
Apparently whoever had stolen the phone felt guilty, found out who it belonged to, tracked down where we live, broke into our house, and planted the phone in the couch so we’d think that it had simply been “lost” all this time, then sneaked out again without being detected. Talk about elite Ninja skills!
At least that’s the story we’re sticking with.