Emily Kitson thought her iPhone 4 was gone forever when it was stolen from beneath a cash register while she was at work.
Her partner, Josh, was beginning to think so too after dealing with what he said was an unhelpful police officer.
On Saturday May 21 this year, Ms Kitson, 19, had been working at a lolly store at Broadmeadows Shopping Centre in Victoria.
“It was just like a normal Saturday and I had my phone underneath the till where everyone else leaves their phone,” Ms Kitson said.
During the day she served a man she described as being in his 30s or 40s who “distracted both of the staff and paid for his lollies and left”. Immediately after serving him, though, another man came up to Ms Kitson, she said, and told her that he saw the man she just served steal her phone.
“I checked and … it was gone, so I went and got the security guard and they sort of chased after him.”
Following the iPhone theft, Ms Kitson said she called Josh, who remembered installing “Google Latitude” on to her phone, a location-aware app that lets authorised friends track where someone’s phone is. The app uses GPS, wi-fi and mobile phone towers to determine a phone’s location.
Luckily for Ms Kitson, Josh was an authorised friend. “I completely forgot about it,” she said.
Despite this, Ms Kitson said the officer wrote down the information she gave him on a notebook and said that he would send a report to her by Tuesday.
“I was a bit disheartened considering how much we had,” she said. “I figured [the information I gave them] would be enough for them to actually do something. I didn’t think that I would get my phone back - but at the very least maybe the [thief] would get charged because I heard from people within the shopping centre that he was the common person there that stole a lot of stuff.”
Ten days after the phone was stolen, Josh received a call he wasn’t expecting.
“One morning we had a call saying that [the police] had gone to [a] house at 12 o’clock at night and gotten my phone,” Ms Kitson said. “Apparently it was a 14-year-old girl who had it.”
Ms Kitson said the police informed her the girl had bought the phone for about $80 from a man who they believed stole it from the shop.
The man had apparently taken the iPhone directly to the girl after he stole it, Ms Kitson said police told her.