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My iPhone got stolen and somehow ended up in the Philippines


My iPhone is quite the world traveler. It’s currently in the city of Tanay, just 35 miles east of Manila in the Philippines. I didn’t leave it there. I’ve never even been to the Philippines.

My backpack was stolen at the San Francisco Airport on December 21, either from the plane or the airport’s curbside as I loaded sleeping kids and heavy bags into the car on our way to visit my parents. I alerted both American Airlines and the San Francisco Police Department. Neither seemed particularly hopeful that I’d see my stuff again. They’ve been right so far. There’s been no sign of my things, but lucky me, I do get to see the people who have my phone. Their photos have popped into my iCloud account.

At first I was hopeful that someone would turn in the bag, but I knew it was gone for good when one week later Apple’s Find My Phone alerted me that my device was 7,200 miles away. I’ve tried to call it. I’ve tried to text it. I’ve used Google Earth to find the street. Next I called the Tanay Police Department and told them the location. The officer politely asked me if I could come over or if I had any relatives in the Philippines that might be able to come down to the station to help (sadly, I don’t).

After no luck getting through to the phone, pictures started popping up in my iCloud feed of people I didn’t know. I have no idea if these people had anything to do with stealing my phone or if they even knew it was stolen.

This is a phone I let my kids use so it wasn’t locked (stupid, I know). And I didn’t want to erase it right away because I wanted to keep trying to get in touch with the people who have it—not because I’m looking to make new friends or even get the phone back, but mostly because I had irreplaceable and sentimental jewelry in the backpack and would love a clue as to where that ended up.

Eventually I used Find My Phone to wipe the phone clean and lock it. I also put a message on the lock screen to email me, but haven’t heard anything.

Maybe it’s finally time to get that iPhone upgrade.

NOTE: Yahoo Finance was contacted by those in possession of the phone. This post has since been edited.