Looking Through the iCloud – Jeff Penso

Go over and knock on the door” or “Wait for the police to do their job”

What would you do?

Recently my wife, R, returned from a yoga class at the Culver-Palms YMCA, came home and noticed she didn’t have her brand new iPhone 5. Its value $500+ . Although troubled, she began to retrace her day in her mind. Meanwhile I got out my iPhone, hit the ‘Find my iPhone’ app and turned it on.

Amazing technology- The app almost immediately indicated that the phone was back at the Culver Y. We returned there together and searched around with the help of the staff. The Find app indicated that the phone was in (or near) the very building we stood in. We opened drawers, inspected under weight machines with no luck. Frustrated, we turned on the app again. Now R’s phone appeared to be at the 405 freeway. Was the GPS working or not? We thanked the folks at the Y and returned home; turned on the app again. Lo and behold the iPhone was now apparently in a building near Venice Boulevard, still in Culver City. It had been tracked from the Y, via freeway and into someone’s house- and we had the address. Someone had taken the phone from the Y while we were searching for it.

Next step? Go over and knock on the door? This responsible senior called the Culver police. I spoke to an interested desk officer. I gave him the information we had gathered. He told me that I would be contacted later tonight or tomorrow. The next day I went to the station with print outs which traced the movements of the phone and attempts by someone to get its password. The iCloud gives all of this!

The desk officer was impressed again by the technology. I was warned that the case had gone to detectives who have more significant responsibilities. I understood that but I asked for an honest answer? Would the case be checked out? Would I hear from someone? One day? Two days? So now on day 4 ponder my next step. We called again about the case number. “Its been placed in the files”, we are told.

“Go over and knock on the door” or “Wait for the police to do their job” What would you do?

An almost positive ending…

My question, ‘What would you do? ‘ was posted on Facebook, where I received numerous suggestions, some helpful.

I did visit the place where the ‘Find my iPhone ‘ app suggested the phone  might have been taken. I didn’t get beaten up- No one was home. I returned to the Culver Police station several times. Nice officers said ‘They would get to it,” and the case was ‘In the files.’

Finally I was contacted by an interested police captain who informed me that the police had visited the house in question early on. No phone. He was truly concerned about a society in which a senior citizen could have property lost/ taken/ stolen from a community center.

The iPhone was not retrieved. Nevertheless Rebecca and I do appreciate the kind support we received from so many in the community, including the CCPD.


The Actors' Gang


  1. Not sure. I had a similar situation a month back, but as it turned out, my phone never strayed from under my work desk (where it had fallen out of my pocket). However, over a day and a half, the iPhone “triangulated” (searching for the best cell tower reception), making it appear to be traveling between the Getty (where I work), UCLA, and an intersection in Beverlywood. Eventually tracked it down under my desk. Technology can be a perplexing thing!

    Maybe check the Y again, just in case!

  2. So sorry to hear you didn’t get it back. The CCPD are the best (they helped me out tremendously a while back with a hit-and-run drunk driver)… but I guess there’s only so much they can do.

  3. I’m so sorry this happened to you. It sounds very frustrating!

    What did your carrier tell you? If someone has attempted to get on the iphone and the password hasn’t worked a certain number of times, the phone will shut down. That said, your carrier will then report that phone and it will have a bad ESN (there are several on Craigslist, for example, that have this), it will at least make it a little more difficult for the person to sell. Of course, there are hackers who can break into it, but they can only use the phone for parts.

    It’s probably best not to confront the people/person who took your phone, senior or not. The fact is, if someone found your iphone at the Y, then a normal person would’ve turned it into the lost and found. Given that they likely took it with them home, that makes them potentially less than honorable; not the kind of person you want to confront.

    It’s times like this when a real-life “Ray Donovan” would come in handy. But for the rest of us, it’s just a sad lesson.

    (Even if you have insurance, you still have to pay a $199 deductible — at least with Verizon you do, so it’s just a bad sitch all around).

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