5 Extraordinary Tales of Lost or Stolen Gadgets
We certainly love our tech, but gadgets are small and can be easily lost or stolen (and it’s a heart- and wallet-rending experience). But devices that we think are gone for good are sometimes recovered and returned to the rightful owners.
1. Police Chief Deploys Team to Find Son’s iPhone
Usually when a phone is stolen, it’s gone for good, no matter who you are. But when someone stole the iPhone belonging to the son of Berkeley, Calif. police chief Michael Meehan, the police force leaped into action to recover the device, as its GPS tracking capabilitywas still functioning.
Up to 10 officers joined the search, including some from the city’s drug task force and four detectives, who were all paid overtime. But despite all the attention and thousands in taxpayer dollars, the phone was never found.
2. Overboard Camera Finds Its Way Home by Google+
In August 2010, a firefighter from British Columbia dropped his camera into Deep Bay near Vancouver — presumably, gone for good. But one year later, a naturalist and photographer named Markus Thompsonfound the camera while scuba diving in Deep Bay. Curious, he brought it to the surface, pulled out the SD card and was able to recover about 50 photos.
Thompson posted several of the photos to Google+, and the Internet went to work. Less than 24 hours later, the owner was found. The camera itself was obviously a total loss, but at least that family got back some of the priceless photos they thought they’d never see.
3. App on Stolen MacBook Leaves Trail for Police
Joshua Kaufman never thought he’d have to use the MacBook app Hidden. But when the laptop was stolenfrom his Oakland, Calif., apartment, he quickly turned it on, activating an online Tracking Control Panel that ran quietly in the background, taking screenshots of the computer in use. The app snapped photos of the thief and used GPS to pinpoint the computer’s location.
It took two months before the Oakland police were able to allocate the resources necessary, but thanks to Hidden’s information, they finally found and arrested the thief.
4. iCloud Posts Photos From Stolen iPhone
iCloud is a smart feature that lets you automatically upload photos you take with your Apple devices to your own personal Photo Stream, which you can then access from anywhere. When Katy McCaffrey lost her iPhone during a Disney cruise, she figured it was gone for good — until new photos she hadn’t taken started showing up on her stream.
The thief who stole her phone didn’t think to turn off iCloud sharing. So, when he gleefully used the phone to take pictures of himself, his girlfriend and his life as a Disney Cruise employee, the photos showed up on McCaffrey’s stream. McCaffrey documented the theft by posting those photos to a Facebook gallery, complete with hilarious captions. She also forwarded the photos to Disney Cruises, who assured her they would make things right. The phone has since been recovered and the employee allegedly involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the resolution of the investigation.
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