iTheft

Filed under Diary
Angry_birds

On Monday evening after work, some dude swiped my iPhone 4 while I was standing at the bus stop.  He grabbed it right out of my hands, ran, and jumped over a fence.  Several people witnessed it, including the bus driver.

The first thing I wanted to do was locate and wipe my phone.  You might wonder why I would be so eager to wipe it.  #1, I have a recent backup, so my data is safe.  #2, I didn't want the data (like all of my passwords) in the hands of someone who might know how to get it (very very unlikely, but still).  #3, I wanted to deactivate my phone service ASAP.  #4, I knew once I deactivate my phone service, I would no longer be able to locate or wipe it.

So after my hour long bus ride home, I did indeed manage to locate and wipe.  Then I told AT&T that my phone was stolen and that I wanted it deactivated.  The AT&T rep wanted to be sure it was in fact stolen.  They frequently hear of situations where the phone was just misplaced.  I told him I was certain it was stolen.  I asked him how often he hears people report the phone taken right out of their hands.  He said he'd never heard of it.

Next, I called my local police.  Right after I started explaining that I wanted to file a report, it dawned on me that I couldn't go to my local police department.  Why?  Remember the word "jurisdiction."  Since the crime was committed in Los Angeles, I couldn't report it to Torrance PD.  So I called Los Angeles Airport Police.

I started over, but the male officer stopped me and asked if I was at the front door.  I told him I wasn't, so he transferred me to a female officer who was playing Angry Birds.  I started over.  I used the word "stolen" so she told me I need to get a copy of my contact and bring it over to the station.

So I was a little confused already.  Apparently I needed to prove it was mine to begin with.  But keep in mind, I used the word "stolen."  My mistake.  In legal terms, that means something specific.  I'll get back to that.

Not having realized my mistake, now my goal is to find the six-foot-long receipt I got when I purchased my iPhone from the Apple Store.  I don't know where it is, but I find the box.  And Apple prints the unique serial number for each phone on the box.  So at least I had that.  But the sales contract is nowhere to be found.

So I decided that the phone bill will have to work.  They didn't say they wanted the phone bill, but come on.

Then I remembered that I opted for the paperless billing option with AT&T.  No problem, I'll just log into my account with their web site and print the last bill.  Nope.  Remember how I deactivated my service?  Well, that deactivates everything, including the billing tools.

Call AT&T again and explain the situation, again.  Plus added the detail about needing the contract but just wanted to print the last bill instead.  The rep said they would send me a copy of my bill at no charge, but it'll take 7 to 10 business days.

Later, I realize, that I don't need to deal with this.  My iPhone wasn't stolen, I was robbed, I thought.  I don't need a contract to move forward.  I just need to file a report that I was robbed.  Remember the word "robbed."

So the next day, I go to the Los Angeles Airport Police Department.

Me: "I've been robbed."

Male officer: "Ok, did this just happen?"

Me: "No, it was yesterday evening."

Male officer: "Why didn't you come in then?"

Me: "I didn't have any evidence for the report."

Male officer: "What kind of evidence?"

Me: "I have the serial number, the last ping location an hour after I was robbed."

The female officer, still playing Angry Birds, offers her insight at random.

He startes filling out the report, and asks where this happened.  I told him it was in the Parking Lot C Bus Terminal.  He pauses, then looks up and says, "Do you want to do this legitimately?"

I've learned to stop talking when someone says something completely, utterly stupid.  I kept silent and vacantly stared at him.

He went on to explain that the location where this happened was under the jurisdiction of LASO.  What is LASO?  LASO is the cute term they use to mean LASO, you idiot.  Don't you know what the LASO is?

Los Angeles Sheriff's Office.  Only, they don't officially call themselves that.  It's actually called Los Angels County Sheriff's Department.

Ok, so I wasted my time.  Funny thing is, I knew I was wasting my time from the beginning.  I knew the only reason I was filing a report was because people were going to tell me to file a report.  If I had said, "No no, I'm not going to file a report.  That's a waste of time," people would have said I was being hyperbolic or obtuse or Typical Anthony™.

Now, I have to actually waste my time in order to prove it's a waste of time.

So I go home and call the number I got from the "helpful" officer at Los Angeles Airport Police Department who wasn't playing Angry Birds but may as well have been.  It's disconnected.

Head, meet desk.

Google LASO.  No relevant results.  That's when I find out the real name of the department.  LASO must have been something they called it before the Internet or something.  I am now trying to locate the correct department among three regions of unincorporated sheriff departments.  None of them seem to be right.  There doesn't seem to be a central way to report crime.

So I start completely over.

I call METRO.  I ask them who I would contact iffen I have been robbed.  They give me a number to the Sheriff.

I get through to a deputy who puts me on hold for a long time.  Apparently there was a train wreck or something.  Now, this guy is actually professional.  I'm not kidding.  I tell him I was robbed, he tells me he'll determine that.  Ok, good.  I tell him the facts, he tells me, no actually, since I wasn't physically on the bus when this happened, Los Angeles Airport Police Department is actually the correct jurisdiction and that the information I had been given earlier that day was in fact erroneous.

Like I said, he was actually professional.  He told me he was going to call the correct office while I was on the line and make sure I got to the correct department this time.

So these other departments managed to defeat this deputy's very professional strategy.  Here's how.  They wouldn't take the call.  I actually heard them hand this nice deputy off to different departments until he gave up and called some kind of central number.  The central number answered with a recording:

"You must tell the operator where you want officers and why you want officers."

"The following message is for the hearing impaired ... "

[SCREACH-SCREACH-BEEP-BEEP]

[Other languages]

They actually pump the TTY noise into the recording so you have to hold the phone away from your ear.

The deputy and I listened to this loop for about 15 minutes.  He finally gave up and asked if he could call me back.

He called back and said he got someone who will call me back.  I thanked him and told him he was very professional.

Now, apparently the correct department was calling me back, right?

Someone from Los Angeles Airport Police Department called back.  She wasn't playing Angry Birds and told me to call this other number.  It won't result in a police report.  She told me if I wanted to file an actual report, I should probably call my local jurisdiction to ask for a courtesy report.

So that's it.  I'm not filing a police report.  I'm done.  It's a waste of time.

There's always a chance that a larger crime will be committed with my iPhone somewhere in the vicinity.  In that off chance, it'll be confiscated during the course of such an investigation.  At that point, the serial number will be reported to Apple, and matched up with my name.  I might get it back then.  I'd have better odds winning the cost of the phone in the lottery.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog

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