Thief Asking Money to Return my Stolen Phone

Question: I have been using Apple iPhone 5 for a year now. As a college student, we are asked to keep our belongings outside the room during examination. I kept my iPhone in the bag and rushed to the room to write the exam. What followed next, after the end of exam, was shocking.

My bag was not there.

I asked the security guard to help me find the bag, and they politely told me to visit the office to enquire further. Long story short, the bag was not there either. Losing the bag meant I lost my iPhone… possibly forever. I was frustrated, as it was their responsibility to look over our stuffs.

I asked my friend to call my iPhone number — but later we realized the phone was switched OFF.

I went to the same classroom to see if I can find the bag. There it was — my bag was on the floor. I was happy, but the happiness didn’t last long. When checking the bag the iPhone was missing.

I bet someone stole my iPhone, I thought.

I had lots of important photos, messages, and all the contact details that I never backed up. Big mistake.

Next day I received a call to my landline number from someone asking money. If I can pay him Rs. 15000 ($300) he would give me back my iPhone. I couldn’t recognize who this was. The conversation went something like:

He: Hey man, I have your iPhone.
Me: Oh, who is this?
He: That doesn’t matter. I have your iPhone, and do you really want it?
Me: Yes!
He: Then I need $300.
Me: What?
He: Yes, give me $300 and I will return your phone.
Me: How did you find my iPhone?
He: I found it on the streets. Thought I’d help you.
Me: Street… really? (I knew a thief would never confess he stole it)
He: Yeah, now don’t waste my time. Tell me if you need your phone, and call me on this number [phone no] this Wednesday.
Me: Okay, your name?
He: Doesn’t matter.

And that’s the end of the conversation. This is blackmailing. What should I do?

Answer: That’s a very interesting story. Unfortunate to know that this has happened to you.

A thief would usually sell the phone to someone else. Maybe he is not lying? Your enemy (or a friend) must have stole your bag, took out the iPhone 4 and dropped the bag back to its original place. That sounds possible.

Back to the problem: this is a real issue. You should take action.

What I would suggest, and it’s my personal opinion, is to contact your nearest police station. He is attempting to sell a stolen good — your iPhone, in this case. This is against the law.

Maybe he is the thief. And he is selling it back to the original owner, as selling to others can get him caught. See also: Do not buy stolen iPhones.

You can start by reporting to the cops that someone stole your iPhone, and you know the guy who is now refusing to return the phone.

Remember that Reselling a stolen iPhone is a crime. There was another lady who snatched a phone, then put it up online for sale — she was caught for this. He is the complete story: Stealing a phone and selling it online is dangerous.

You can always settle this matter personally by talking politely. If that doesn’t work, let him know that you have mobile spying apps, GPS installed and now you know the location of his place — that will give him goosebumps, even if you don’t have any apps to trace his whereabouts.

You can also tell him that you will deactivate this stolen smartphone, so that he cannot sell it or use it anymore (say this, if nothing works).

This is a rare case, but take the help of cops. They are the right folks to solve this problem.

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