Eight reports of iPhone theft at Ale House

Thief offers “assistance” to unknowing victims

This weekend saw eight incidents of iPhone theft at Ale House
Photo: 

Kingston Police received eight complaints of iPhone theft this past weekend at the Ale House.

Kingston Police (KP) reported three complaints in a press release on Monday, but have since confirmed receiving an additional five complaints — all from women.

Allie Hammond, ArtSci ’16, said she was a victim of theft, but only realized it after seeing the KP release. 

While at the Ale House, she noticed her ID on the ground, which she thought was in her purse, she said. Looking through her purse, she realized her phone was also missing. Hammond then looked for her phone with the help of friends.

“I then saw my phone case on the ground and I’ve never dropped my phone and had the case just pop off. We continued looking around and this guy came up to me and [offered to help me look],” Hammond said.

The man, described in the police report as “between 20 to 25 years of age, 5’8” to 5’9” in height, tan skin or darker complexion, dark hair and wearing a white shirt,” said he could offer the assistance by using his “find my iPhone” application to help track down the phone. 

“I put my iCloud information in, but obviously it didn’t show up because he’d turned it off,” Hammond said.

According to KP, this routine was typical of each theft. The perpetrator would offer assistance to gain the phones’ passwords, as they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to break through the phones’ security features.

“Before putting everything together, I thought that guy was being so nice. I was happy to have someone help me look,” Hammond said.

“He did seem a bit fishy — I won’t lie — I remember having an uneasy feeling about him. I now feel really taken advantage of.”

While Hammond had been unaware that she’d come in contact with the thief who most likely had taken her phone, Erica Lipworth, ConEd ’18, had a more confrontational exchange with a potential thief. 

“I was dancing and I felt my phone being taken out of my back pocket, so I turned around figuring I could catch whoever was taking it,” Lipworth said.

“I said to the person — who I was 90 per cent sure took it — ‘hey, could you give me back my phone?’ and he started freaking out and acting pretty suspicious for someone claiming to have not taken my phone. I said, ‘I’m not going to ask you any questions, I’m alone at the club, I very much need my phone, can I please have it back?’”

Lipworth asked him to check his pockets and he pulled out two phones, claiming one was his girlfriend’s. She then asked him to check his back pockets, which he refused to do.

“At that point I felt a little threatened so I removed myself from the situation. I’d rather him take my phone than do anything else.” 

To get her information to unlock the phone, Lipworth said the perpetrator returned claiming he could help locate the phone.

“I saw another girl complaining to security and saying that her phone had been stolen and she described the guy in the same way as the guy who stole my phone. I assume the phone he showed me that was his ‘girlfriend’s phone’ was actually this girl’s.”

Lipworth later approached one of the bouncers to inform him of the incident. Ale House was contacted but declined to comment on the incidents.

As far as KP Communications Officer, Const. Steve Koopman, could say, it’s unlikely the phones will be recovered, especially if the Apple security features have been disabled.

However, Koopman said victims can blacklist their stolen phones using the phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) number. To do so, they can call their cell phone service provider so the number can’t continue to be used. 

To avoid these situations, Koopman suggested that people keep their phones in a pocket and out of sight and never tell anyone, including friends, your passwords.

Corrections

December 5, 2015

While Lipworth did say the bouncer at Ale House didn’t offer any assistance and didn’t take down her name, she also didn't explicitly ask for assistance. Unclear information appeared in the Dec. 3 issue of The Journal.

The Journal regrets the error.

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