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).
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?