An iPhone Stolen in Barcelona Turns Up in Pakistan

January 9, 2012
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Barry visited Barcelona in October 2011 and had his black iPhone 4 stolen. Nothing unusual so far; we have at least 550 criminal incidents here every day.

He went to a local police station and gave his details, but on returning the next day the police informed him that he hadn’t followed procedure–he hadn’t made an official statement–so they refused to involve themselves further in the investigation. That’s not unusual either.

With no other recourse, Barry turned to Robbed in Barcelona.

The iPhone was one of three items stolen from him. He also lost a Seiko watch (kinetic silver, with a gold strap) and his wallet (brown leather).

What makes this story unusual is that this particular iPhone had a tracker app installed. Some days after the robbery, Barry left Barcelona. When he got on his home computer, he realized he could track the movement of his iPhone around the streets of Barcelona.

He noticed the phone hovering in the Barceloneta area more than anywhere else. See the accompanying images (and below).

Was the iPhone here? Image courtesy of Google Street Maps

The image appears to show the iPhone centred on a building between Carrer del Conde de Santa Clara and Carrer de Sevilla. We went to Google Street Maps and took a screenshot of the building in question.

Frustrated at seeing where his phone was located but unable to do anything about it, Barry contacted Robbed in Barcelona explaining that if someone in Barcelona could get close to the phone, he could have the phone emit a particular sound unique to stolen iPhones.

Robbed in Barcelona considered putting together a posse–indeed the original title of this article was “Robbed in Barcelona Needs a Posse”–but upon speaking to former vigilante John Smith we realized that the situation was likely to get nasty, and that it was the police’s responsibility to locate and retrieve stolen property. There was also the possibility that the iPhone was now in the hands of an innocent third party who had purchased the phone second hand.

On Friday, December 16th Barry informed us that the phone had been locked and he could no longer get a reading on its location.

But the story doesn’t end there. Late on Saturday, December 17th an email arrived from Barry. He was again able to check the location of his phone. “It’s in Pakistan now,” he wrote. “Here’s the image to prove it…”

Would anyone with a better grasp of these matters like to comment on whether the iPhone was exported out of the country or whether it was brought to one of Barcelona’s many Pakistani phone shops and reset using some bespoke software?

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10 Responses to An iPhone Stolen in Barcelona Turns Up in Pakistan

  1. Anonym on January 9, 2012 at 11:54 am

    When iPhone´s are restored or reset all necessary configuration to make it trackable via these tracking apps are also gone, so i dont think the unit has been reset. This must have been exported out.

  2. Johnny Rubin on January 13, 2012 at 4:10 am


    I had my iPhone stole back in August. It turned up in India on the boarder to Pakistan.

    I could see via find my phone the exact house were it was. I send messages to the people having my phone but with no success. I called the local police station but they only spoke Hindi and Arabic. Via google I found the police stations email and wrote them with screenshots of were my phone was but of course I didn’t get ant response even though I offered a 200€ reward.

    I ended up wiping my phone so the F€%&# thieves didn’t have access to my data any longer.

  3. Derek on January 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    I had my iphone stolen just before Christmas in Dublin and it just reappeared today in Karachi, Pakistan. I wiped it immediately as who knows what info they are capable of getting out of your phone over there.

    • Rob Daly on January 31, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      The iPhone in our story was also an Irish iPhone, oddly enough.

  4. Therese Oliver on March 30, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    My phone was lost, I thought, (or maybe stolen?) last Friday….just turned out in Pakistan, just near the Indian border. Hmmmmmm.

  5. […] the district, constantly features here on ”Robbed in […]

  6. Phartyboy on April 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    How strange. I also lost an iPhone, watch (Rado) and wallet.


  7. Sebastian on May 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I just lost an iPhone 5 four days ago in Barri Gotic in Barcelona.

    The thief did not just went for a phone. He made tens of phone calls to Burkina Faso and Gambia rocketing my bill to 1 thousand PLN (limit set by my carrier) in just 45 minutes.

    The best may weekend I ever had turned into one nasty memory.

  8. jodie-leanne on November 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I lost my purse and phone in a nightclub in oldham, Manchester one week on ive had an email from someone in pakistan who bought and is now asking me for my icloud password is there anything that can be done?

    • Rob Daly on November 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Any idea why they’re asking you for that? Were you asked for anything else? Did you reply to them?

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