A man from New York City recovered his stolen iPhone by outsmarting the thief on a dating site. He did not even have to use the Find My Phone app.
Twenty-seven-year-old Nadav Nirenberg, a trombonist from Brooklyn, NY, left his iPhone in a cab on New Year's Eve. Realizing he lost his iPhone, he sent messages and left voice messages to his number saying he would come and pick up the phone and give a large reward. But the thief had turned off his phone.
Nirenberg later logged on to his OKCupid account and noticed someone else was using it. The iPhone thief apparently wanted to steal his victim's identity, too.
Twenty-seven-year-old Nadav Nirenberg, a trombonist from Brooklyn, NY, left his iPhone in a cab on New Year’s Eve. He blogs about the incident after being interviewed by various news channels on the ruse he pulled to recover his phone. (Image: Screenshot of Nadav Nirenberg's blog.)
"The next morning I woke up to see that the thief had been on my old OKCupid account sending weird messages to girls at 6 in the morning! Not only is he stealing my phone, he's creepy and disturbing," Nirenberg wrote on his blog. This gave him an idea to catch the thief.
"I created a fake email and a half-believable OKCupid account as "Jennifer Gonzalez" - a 24-year-old girl who just moved to Brooklyn and is looking for a man to take her out. I sent a message to the thief (my account) and chatted him up as Jennifer...weird."
The thief actually took the bait and was on his way to meet "Jennifer" the same day. Nirenberg catches the thief on his way up the apartment building. "Dude was all dressed up, had a bottle of wine and stank of cologne," Nirenberg observed.
Nirenberg had some preparation, too. He got out of his building with a $20 bill and a hammer - in case things get rough. He said he "calmly" approached the thief, gave him the $20, and told him cops were on the way. "The look of immediate shame on his face was priceless, homie was shook and must feel like an idiot," he wrote.
Nirenberg was amused that the thief believed he got too lucky. He wrote, "Dude thought that a 24-year-old girl who lives alone would invite a complete stranger over for wine."
Nirenberg gave a transcript of his message exchange with the thief to CBS. Here is a snippet of their chat on OKCupid:
JennifferInBK: "Yeah I kinda do [wink] I'm a bit nervous since my hair is longer than my picture, hope you don't mind if I look slightly different haha. Any ideas where to meet?"
Thief: "No I don't mind. No I don't have no Ida. Do u??
JennifferInBK: "I guess you could come to my place, though I think the bar might be a better idea."
Thief: "Ok can I have ur phone number?"
Nirenberg did contact the cops about his plan. He was advised that a cop should be present in the encounter, but he said he did not want an arrest to be made.
"So I just basically did it on my own, which, of course, I don't recommend," he told CBS.
VIDEO: Nadav Nirenberg's trombone solo at the 2008 Montreal Jazz Festival