I experienced probably one of the worst things a geek can ever experience last week - my phone got stolen. Here’s the story about what happened.

Every year, I visit Danmarks Smukkeste Festival (Denmark’s most Beautiful Festival) in Skanderborg - the second largest music festival in Denmark. We spend the entire week playing bartenders in one of the many bars around the festival area. Anyway, Friday after work (my shift ended at 7PM) I ended up going out to have a few beers with some of my friends and colleagues from the bar. By the time I finally got to bed it was probably around 6AM.

I woke up again at about 10AM on Saturday because the tent was too hot to sleep in. I didn’t think to look for my phone then because I always just had it lying next to my pillow, so I went out to get some breakfast. Later on I decided it was time to take a nap, seeing as I had to work that evening so I didn’t want to be too tired. I thought I’d just set the alarm on my phone to wake me up after a couple of hours. But my phone wasn’t next to my pillow! In fact I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere in my tent. A few minutes of searching passed when I remembered that I had my iPad in my bag - and that I had installed the Find my Phone app. I would just check if I maybe left my phone in our bar the previous evening and just forgotten about it.

I fired up the Find my Phone app and after a few seconds I had a map showing the location of my phone. It took me a little while before I realised that what I was seeing on the map was nowhere near neither the camp site nor the festival grounds. My phone was about 30KM away, in an area of Aarhus called Brabrand. After gathering my thoughts for a few minutes, trying to replay my steps from the previous night, I decided I’d better notify the police about my missing phone, so that I could at least get the insurance money. I walked up to the festival grounds, iPad in hand, and found the police. I told them that my phone had been stolen and that I knew where it was, but that I would like to file the incident for insurance purposes. On seeing my iPad screen with a neat satellite image of the area where my phone was located, I must have triggered something in the police officer. We could see on the satellite image that the phone must have been lying in a car on the parking lot. She talked us in to driving to Aarhus, finding the parking lot and then calling the Aarhus Police Dept. to get them to come out and help us. So we did.

I gathered a few friends to come along for the ride and we found the right parking lot. After looking at all the parked cars we found one that looked like it had been through the same kind of mud that our own car had (it had been raining heavily at the festival so the fields we used for parking were quite muddy). The police agreed to send a patrol car and sure enough, after about 15 minutes two police officers showed up. I told them the story and showed them the map and satellite image on my iPad, quite obviously telling us that we were quite close to my phone. Every now and then I would make my phone ring using the application (the phone would then ring, regardless of whether or not it was muted or turned down) while we walked from car to car, trying to listen through the windows for any sounds. Unfortunately we didn’t hear anything out of the ordinary. One of the police officers gave me his business card and told me that if my phone started moving, I should give him a ring since it would be easier to track a moving vehicle than a stationary one. I agreed, and we drove back to the festival grounds.

I showed up for my shift in the bar at 7PM - luckily for me I was to be in charge that night, so I would be getting lots and lots of time in the office sorting paperwork and counting money - all the while being able to check up on my phone every now and then. When I did so later on I noticed that it had moved! My heart jumped a beat and I quickly grabbed the phone I had borrowed and called the officer from earlier. I told him exactly where the phone was located now and he told me to hold on. I could hear the radio chatter going on and after a few minutes he gave me a phone number to call.

The number was to one of his colleagues who was on patrol in the same area. So I hung up and dialled the new number. The phone was answered by a female officer to whom I explained the situation. She asked for a detailed description of where my phone was (I could see that it was next to a market place called Bazar Vest, and that the phone was in the parking lot, in the first row of cars, right next to the main building). She let me know that they were headed there and told me to keep an eye out for any movement. After a few minutes she told me that they were there and about to turn the corner. I told her again that I could see my phone’s location as being at the end of the first row of parking spaces, right next to the main building. She told me that they could see a small group of people standing in that spot and that they would go and talk to them. I heard their car door open and close and she told me that her colleague had asked the people there to empty their pockets. Next, she asked me to make my phone ring again. I nervously pushed the button on my iPad and after what seemed like ages (it was really only a few seconds) she said (with a surprised voice) “We have your phone!”

I couldn’t believe it. The officer let me know that she would call me back a little later, as they now had some “business” to attend to. Later that evening when she did call me back, we agreed that she should just take the phone with her to Aarhus and I would pick it up there the next day. So a little over 24 hours after I realised my phone was gone, I was reunited with it. That’ll teach those crooks to mess with geeks like me!

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