A stolen mobile phone usually, at the very most, results in a visit to the cop shop, the filling out of a few forms and then a trip to the phone store to sort out a replacement. But, evidently, it doesn’t always work out that way.
In San Francisco on Monday, for example, a smartphone stolen in the city’s Ocean View neighborhood resulted in a police chase, a school lockdown and an officer firing their gun.
According to a San Francisco Chronicle report, it all started at around 6.30am when two men stole a pedestrian’s iPhone at gunpoint. Using the phone-locating Find My iPhone app, officers discovered that the device was somewhere in the Noe Valley neighborhood in the center of the city.
After pinpointing the suspects, officers approached them but – surprise, surprise – they both scarpered.
During the pursuit, one of the suspects turned towards an officer with their hand concealed close to their body – of course, a move like that in such a tense situation rarely ends with a friendly shake of the hands and the exchange of a few pleasantries. No, in this case, the pursuing officer, believing her life to be in imminent danger, took out her gun and fired at the suspect, who subsequently managed to escape unharmed.
As the chase continued, police locked down nearby St. Paul’s Catholic Church and its adjoining elementary school for around half an hour to secure the safety of those inside.
Cops then tracked the stolen handset to a car with a person sitting inside. After apprehending the occupant, they also found someone hiding in the trunk, together with a stash of other allegedly stolen smartphones. Job done.
It might seem like quite a palaver for one stolen phone, but with smartphone theft on the rise, and more handset owners getting up to speed with enabling find-my-phone type apps, perhaps we’ll be hearing more stories like this in the future.
Security experts also recommend that handset owners enable the lock screen on their device and install a remote wipe app to prevent personal details being taken in the event of a theft – or loss – of a phone.