Last night, through some slight of hand, my four-week old iPhone 5s was stolen right in front of my eyes.
My friend and I were sitting down for a late dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings in Clifton. We had just come from the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo. We were sitting at a four-top table. After giving our order with our server we placed our menus off to my right. A few minutes later I placed my phone on top of the menus.
After eating a steak wrap and wings, I was pretty messy. I decided to go to the bathroom to wash up. As I headed off, I recall purposely leaving my phone on the table. I didn’t want to pick it up and give any impression that I was walking off to use my phone in private.
When I returned, my phone was right where I left it.
Several minutes later, from my six, a very polite asshole walked up to my right and asked if he could take our menus. I looked up, he smiled, and I said, “Yes, absolutely!” Before walking away with our menus, he lingered for a bit and explained, “I didn’t want to just walk up and take your menus without asking.” I laughed and mentioned that I understood and he walked away.
A short time later, I looked around for my phone. It only took a few seconds for me to realize what had happened.
My friend immediately called my phone. It instantly went to voicemail.
A brief walk through the dining area revealed that the perpetrator had already left the premises.
I was duped.
You see, unnoticed by me at the time, the asshole already wielded a menu upon approaching me. He quickly placed that menu on top of my phone and other menus to conceal what he was really after. He was overly polite which quickly negated any suspicion that he might be up to something sketchy.
In an effort to locate the whereabouts of my phone I installed the Find My iPhone app on my friend’s phone. It only showed that my phone was turned off and the last known location was at the very location where I lost it.
A very helpful manager noticed my issue and offered to help out. Thanks to the security footage, she was able to confirm all the activities mentioned above. She offered to call the police. I hesitated, but finally agreed. We waited over an hour before finally leaving. The police arrived nearly 2 hours after being called.
The manager mentioned that they had similar reports of customers’ phones being stolen on the premises. I wonder if they’d consider posting a sign to warn their customers of the trend.
It sucks to have anything taken from you. But, after a bit of reflection, I think what really pisses me off the most is that what the asshole took from me was worthless to him. The iPhone 5s, when locked and in “Lost Mode” cannot be accessed by anyone. It cannot be unlocked. It cannot be jail broken. It cannot be used with another SIM card. It’s useless.
If by stealing from me that asshole could feed himself, his family or do something positive, I would feel slightly less shitty. But the fact that $750 worth of technology was taken, immediately rendered useless, and likely just thrown away, is painful.