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Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

iPad Stolen

I had my iPad stolen out of my hands tonight while waiting for the 8:50pm 4K bus at Lake and Lyndale.

We had a fun 8thBridge outing this afternoon at Bryant Lake Bowl. After that a bunch of us went over to moto-i and had some dinner and then a final beer at Muddy Waters. Everyone else left by cab and I walked over to the bus stop to catch the 4K home. I was about 15 minutes early so I got my iPad out and started reading The Selfish Gene, my book club book.

After a few minutes a guy walked up next to me and asked me for the time. I didn’t hear him at first and then he asked again so I told him the time. I didn’t think anything of it, but it seems after the fact that I was the mark at that point. Two other people that were at the bus stop mentioned that he looked suspicious and after he talked to me he had gone back and talked to another guy.

The 4K was still a few minutes away when the 4F started to approach. That wasn’t my bus so I just kept reading, and right as the bus approached a different person approached quickly behind me from my right, snatched my iPad with both hands and forcefully pulled it from me. He then ran very fast northbound on Lyndale. It happened in about 1 second. I didn’t get any look at him, other than to know he was shorter than me, likely 5 foot 6 inches. He was a black male in his twenties.

Two people waiting at the stop highlighted at this time they thought something was up. I was completely clueless. The driver on the 4F was super nice and called the transit police for me. I immediately sent a remote wipe command via MobileMe. About 15 minutes later MetroTransit Police called me and took all the details including the serial number of the iPad.

I seriously doubt that the iPad will be recovered. I have no idea what they will even do with it since I have a passcode and the device will certainly be locked. It is a WiFi device so it won’t be online, and if and when it does it will be wiped. I’m bummed to have lost the device, bummed to have been robbed and also just annoyed by the whole situation. On the very good side I didn’t even get so much as pushed or shoved. The guy snatched it and ran. I thought about pursuing but he was clearly faster than I, and even if I did catch him what would I do then.

The MetroTransit police officer I talked to was nice. I asked him if they ever found these things and he said the fact the 4F was approaching was a good thing. The buses, he said, have cameras all over them and they are going to pull the relevant video and see if they can find anything.

First time I’ve ever been robbed. Happily my wallet was still in my pocket, I still had my iPhone in my pocket and nobody threatened me. Doesn’t make me feel different about taking the bus, but I probably need to be a bit more “street wise” at night on a local bus as opposed to an express bus with commuters.

Update Oct. 5

I got a call from the MetroTransit Police and they were able to pull the video from the 4F bus that was approaching when the iPad was taken from me. The investigator confirmed that they saw a person matching my description grab the device from me and run away. They were not able to see his face or any other clues to help with identifying the person so it is mostly a dead end.

She said they were going to call around to local pawn shops but beyond that there wasn’t too much to go on. I thanked her for following up, but I don’t hold much hope for recovery.

30 Comments

  1. Wow, sorry that happened to you. Luckily no weapons were involved and you are uninjured.

  2. That sucks man. Glad you didn’t get hurt.

  3. You are the latest victim of the Amazon initiative. They are hoping that by stealing iPads, they will get people to consider replacing them with the new Kindle Fire. Of course, poor timing on their part as they should have waited until it was available before pulling the trigger on the thefts.

    Sorry, I know it’s in very poor taste, but somehow, I couldn’t resist…
    On a more serious note, I echo all of the comments above!

  4. Alona Thingelstad

    September 30, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Wow I read this last night while I was on my ipad. So glad there was no violence and you’re ok!! Plus a bus from Lake St? You are an adventurous guy! Lol

  5. Glad I haven’t started to take mine along yet with all the strange things happening around here. Our States attorney came home and a man had got in her house, took a shower, ate something and was sleeping on her couch. That’s all I heard. Another was being looked for. Bye for now. Glad your okay! Love Grandma

  6. Glad your OK Jamie…

    Putting myself in your shoes for a moment – It’s interesting how comforting the passcode is (and of course the MobileMe wipe)…

    • Thanks Nik. The passcode is the key. Although, this is the only time I’ve ever wished that my iPad had 3G since I could query it for it’s location at any time. Since it was locked with a passcode I don’t expect it will ever appear online again.

  7. That sucks. Is Tammy sharing hers?

    • I mentioned to Tammy that I may need to get the iPad 2 sooner than later. I was planning on waiting, but it looks like 4 to 6 months for the next release. She offered to share hers with me and I suggested I wasn’t so good at sharing. We’ll see.

  8. That’s too bad Jamie…don’t lose hope…I had an iPod stolen from my car and a month or so later it was recovered by the police. Someone attempted to pawn it and the serial number was flagged as stolen!

    • Really? That’s amazing. Well, I did report the serial number for the device to the police so I’m guessing it is in the same registry your iPod was in. Seems like a long shot, but we’ll see!

      MetroTransit also said they would look at the video from the bus. I’m not real sure what good that will do, but maybe there will be some hint.

  9. Reminds me of when the bad people busted my wagon and made off with my Android at the bar. Have the retribution fantasies started yet?

  10. Jamie, that sucks but I agree with the above comments. At least there were no weapons involved and you didn’t get hurt. : /

  11. Remember that time I thought someone stole my iPad but it turned out it was just under a big stack of papers? Yeah, your story is better.

    Just think, if you’d had your car you could have run him over!

  12. I am really sorry! I wouldn’t expect something like that to happen at Lake and Lyndale..there are usually tons of people around…they were gutsy! I hope it gets returned to you!

    • Thanks. There were plenty of people around, but that didn’t seem to deter this guy. There were at least 5 people just waiting at the bus stop, and a lot of foot traffic around the bars and such.

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