Update, 5:25 p.m.: Prince George’s County police have secured David Pogue’s iPhone, which had gone missing earlier this week on Amtrak train. Pogue used the Find my iPhone function to track the phone to Maryland. He asked the Internet to help him recover it.
See below for more details.
Here is the tweet from Prince George’s police telling Pogue it was found:
Here is a picture of Pogue’s phone safe and sound:
I just got off the phone with police spokeswoman Julie Parker, who told me that Pogue’s phone was found in a yard in the 700 block of Carrington Place in Seat Pleasant.
Prince George’s police apparently got on the case about 3 p.m. after Parker received a tweet asking for the department’s help finding the phone. She alerted commanders in the area of where the GPS was pinging from.
At the same time, Lt. Bill Alexander, who was working part-time in the area, was also mobilizing to get the phone. He had sent an e-mail to Gizmodo (see below) offering his help.
“It’s a crazy story,” Parker said.
No arrests have been made. Parker said it’s not even clear whether a crime has been committed, as she was unaware whether Pogue had filed a police report. He told Gizmodo that he doesn’t know whether the device was stolen or lost.
Meanwhile, Parker said police are FedExing him his phone back.
And that, folks, is a crazy day in the world of gadgetry.
Update, 5:33 p.m.: Pogue has now weighed in on his blog post about his very, very exciting day. He was apparently with police — via phone — when it was being searched for. He writes:
By the end of the day, the local police were actually at the house, with me on the phone. Find My iPhone has a great feature: From the iCloud.com Web site, you can make the phone ping, very loudly, for two minutes, even if its ringer is switched off. Over and over and over, I pinged the phone, so that the officer might hear it as he toured the house. My heart was in my throat; it was a cat-and-mouse game of GPS versus Bad Guy. I just kept hitting Refresh on the Find My iPhone screen, over and over again, in case the phone moved again.
Over an hour he spent searching. The backyard. The next-door house. The driveway. He never heard it, and he never found the phone. Near the end of his search, the phone went offline again. Either its battery died, or somebody got smart and shut it down so I couldn’t track it anymore.
But the phone was apparently found a short time later in a yard.
Update, 6:31 p.m.: I just got off the phone with Pogue, who told me “my heart is only now calming down.”
He offered some more details about his phone’s adventure. He said police had searched several houses before they found the phone in a yard.
He has no interest in pressing charges. “I just wanted the phone back,” he said.
Pogue is stunned at how viral the story went. And he’s especially thankful to Twitter, “which has never let me down before,” he said.
Original post: Here is a caper for our digital age.
David Pogue, the New York Times technology columnist, has become separated from what could probably safely be described as a dear family member — his iPhone.
It apparently went missing — stolen or lost — during an Amtrak ride this week.
And here’s where it becomes a caper for our digital age. Using the Find My iPhone function, Pogue has tracked his loved one to Prince George’s County, near Seat Pleasant Drive, and he’s asking the Internet to help get the phone back.
Here’s a tweet he sent a few hours ago:
My iPhone was stolen. Find My iPhone shows it in MD. Anyone want to help me track it down? ADVENTURE!lockerz.com/s/230516701— David Pogue (@Pogue) August 2, 2012
When David Pogue asks the Internet to do something, the Internet listens. Tweets are pouring in offering assistance.
— Judy Golden (@judehere) August 2, 2012
@pogue I have friend lives in MD - give me your email - DM me - and I will send it to her.
And Gizmodo has gone absolutely bonkers, posting maps, information about the neighborhood, calling police — a total of 10 updates to their original story, the most recent one being an e-mail from a police officer offering to help.
Pogue told Gizmodo that he was either “pickpocketed, or I set it down unthinkingly and it was nabbed” as he was on an Amtrak train headed north Monday.
“Find My iPhone continued to report the phone ‘Offline’ until this morning, when BOOM — it sent me an e-mail saying that the phone was back online and had been located!” he said.
We’re reaching out to police and to Pogue. I’ll let you know how this plays out.