Over one million people packed the streets during Toronto’s Pride Parade on July 4. One of them took off with Ren Bostelaar’s iPhone. Bostelaar was manning a tent for Henry’s, the Toronto camera store where he works as a senior training specialist. “My phone was low on juice, so I’d plugged it in at the back of the tent,” says Bostelaar, 27. “I figured it’d be safe,” but someone reached down, grabbed it and disappeared into the crowd.
Bostelaar’s phone is equipped with Find My iPhone, which can pinpoint its location on a Google map. “I grabbed a colleague’s phone, navigated to the app, put in my password, and could see my phone was two blocks away,” he says. Bostelaar took off through the crowd, “trying to figure out who had my phone in their pocket,” when suddenly the signal disappeared. That night, back home, he logged on to the app again from his computer, and noticed it had sent another signal—from the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill. “It’s accurate within 10 feet, so I knew it was in one of a couple of houses,” he says. Still, “I’m not about to knock on somebody’s door.”
A few days later, “on a hunch,” Bostelaar checked Craigslist. “Somebody had posted an ad, in Richmond Hill, selling a phone the exact same as mine,” he says. Posing as a potential buyer, Bostelaar set up an appointment to meet him at a McDonald’s. “He swaggers in, sits down, and I shake his hand,” Bostelaar says. After checking the phone’s serial number, which confirmed it was his, Bostelaar confronted him, slipping the iPhone into his pocket. “He’s saying, ‘Give me back the phone,’ ” Bostelaar says. “I’m saying, ‘Dude, it’s not going to happen.’ ” Bostelaar’s friend called the police. Bostelaar admits it was “kind of dumb” to pull off this sting operation, but he has his phone again. Kareem David Richards, 19, was arrested and charged with possession of property obtained by crime.