inigo1TL;DR:

My phone was stolen today, probably when I was at Jamba Juice en route to aikido. It is not a particularly valuable phone; it’s an iPhone 5S. It was annoying, but I was more angry that it was stolen than I was that I’d have to be without it.

When I arrived home, I did the things to make the phone trackable when it was turned on. Once it was, I tracked the phone/thief/purchaser of stolen property with the Apple app and based on the ramblings of the tweaker who called, figured out where he was going.

We met him there exactly when he got off the train. There was a verbal altercation in which kH was the good cop and I was the bad cop (and the real cops didn’t get there until later, but I made a statement. In fact, the cops complimented me on my statement, which I found amusing because I was surprised I was stringing words together in the right order).

Although the phone was insured and I could have walked away (I nearly did; when he said he could destroy my phone, I said, go ahead, it’s insured, and you’ll never get anything for it). But…I was pissed off enough to act without thinking. There was a back-and-forth thing that ended up  ultimately when I gave the guy the $22 in my daughter’s wallet (I don’t carry cash usually and yes, we left her in the car) and two coupons for free burritos at Taco Time, because, well, that’s what I had. He was kind of threatening again, so I called 911, and he went away.

As I’m shaking in the driver’s seat on the way home, pH says in the disapproving voice of daughters everywhere: “Mom. You owe me $22.”


The longer version:

I noticed my phone was missing at aikido, when I went to check to make sure the sound was off (because it would be gauche to be reminded to take Xanax with a loud German song during the class). This was weird, because not only do I not lose things, but I’d checked to make sure I had my Voyage and the iPhone before I put the car in reverse to leave.

Most likely what happened was that when pH spilled some green stuff on herself at Jamba Juice, I put the phone down to clean her up, and someone grabbed it. It had been immediately turned off, and I had left it fully charged, so it was someone who knew what they were doing. (It wasn’t at home; kH checked.)

I came home and did the Find my Phone thing and changed the message to “This phone has been lost” to “This phone has been lost or stolen,” because it was more precise and I like details…and if someone is even a little bit afraid of the law, I figured it couldn’t hurt.

I set it up to notify me and call kH if it were activated. We assumed the thing was lost for good, I discovered my husband had insurance on my phone. (I didn’t know; kH said: “It’s an Apple product. I insisted on it.”) I dug up an old phone I could use until the new one arrived and was working on that….

When kH’s phone rang. I’d set it up so that if the phone was turned on, it would make a sound and call kH’s phone.

And that commenced the conversation with the tweaker. I’ve talked to lots of people on drugs, but this one was in a category by himself. I think he was tweaking and drunk and mentally ill, and he repeatedly threatened me, while occasionally telling me what a good Christian he was. I told him I’d give him a reward of $20 and he shouted about how I was robbing him of $30 because he’d bought it for $50 and I was ripping him off and…

Well. I was watching the phone on the map and I knew where he was going and what stop he’d be getting off at.

The intelligent thing to have done would have been to have gotten a new phone in two days. After all, we had insurance.

I didn’t do the intelligent thing. I grabbed kH and pH and we drove to the train stop. And as soon as we got there, I saw a guy that looked like a tweaker and he had a cell phone and I asked if he was looking for [a name that is not my real name that I gave him and I am feeling uneasy that perhaps that is an ethical violation I need to self-report]…and he was the right guy, or the wrong guy, depending.

kH and I do bad cop/good cop. I am the bad cop. I am 5’1 and he is more than a foot taller and probably twice my weight. Surprisingly, this works out well.  We were a bit at odds: I knew a crime had been committed and was obliged to report it. (“You purchased stolen property.”) He has a different ethical standard that involves helping people (“Do you have a place to stay?”). We both managed to do what we needed to do (I called 911, he gave the guy his work number to refer him to social services). We waited around a while for the cops a long time (they’re spread a bit thin right now), decided that it was too hot, and we went home.

When we were home, the police officer called. I reiterated that the guy needed social services more than he needed jail, that kH and I both felt sorry for the guy, and that we really didn’t care about the $22. (Although pH remains concerned, she will be reimbursed.)

When I got home, my stomach was burning, I was still shaking and I was FREAKED OUT, and my husband–the guy with the real anxiety in the family–was completely nonplussed and is playing Skyrim. Apparently physical confrontations means nothing to him after all those years fighting growing up. (Quote: “I’ve spent over half my life learning to control my temper. I would have walked away. If he’d touched you, it would have been a different story.”)

Good to know. I took a handful of Prevacid.