Online dating trap helps recover stolen iPhoneon January 7, 2013 @ 12:28 pm (Updated: 5:04 pm - 1/7/13 )
Nadav recounted the crazy tale he first shared on his blog in a conversation with KIRO Radio's Dori Monson Show. He told Dori he thought it was gone for good after calling it repeatedly and no one answered. The phone had been turned off and his emails and texts were ignored.
"I kind of started to give up and think it's not the end of the world but dang I lost my phone," Nirenberg said.
But then Cupid struck. Actually, the dating site OKCupid. Nirenberg says he started getting a bunch of notifications from the service, showing someone was logging onto his account and trying to get in touch with young women.
"Since I knew it wasn't me, I basically put two and two together and saw that this guy had taken my phone and was now using my OKCupid profile to contact all these woman at six in the morning. It was very strange."
Strange, but it gave him and his girlfriend a great idea. They decided to set up a fake profile for a flirty 24-year-old girl named Jennifer and reached out to the would-be Romeo using his account. He even found a picture from deep within Google images of a young, attractive woman to spice it up. Lo and behold, the thief responded.
"It took a couple of hours of small chat, just happy new year's, what are you up to today, blah blah blah. Eventually it led to 'I have nothing to do today, maybe we could meet up at the bar or something like that,'" he said.
Nadav offered the promise of a romantic rendezvous at "Jennifer's" apartment. And the guy showed up promptly for the date, clean shaven and ready for action. Boy was he disappointed. Instead of a beautiful young woman, Nadav was waiting.
When the thief turned around, there was Nirenberg, with $20 in hand "as a peace offering to show him that I didn't want trouble, I didn't want to cause him any harm. All I wanted was my phone back."
Nirenberg said after chatting with the guy online for several hours, he didn't he think he was dangerous. But he did clutch a hammer in his other hand, just in case.
"I wanted some semblance of intimidation and protection. I'm so glad the 20 worked."
Did it ever. The stunned thief was actually holding the phone (along with a bottle of wine), and Nirenberg simply grabbed it out of his hand. The guy didn't say a word and quickly left.
Nirenberg is virtually certain the thief was his cab driver from the night before. But he's surprisingly forgiving. He decided not to press charges or complain to the cab company, figuring the guy's embarrassment and desperation for a date were more than enough.
"He didn't pickpocket me, he never did anything malicious with my cell phone even though he certainly could have with email and Facebook and all my information on there," he said. "No harm, no foul. The poor guy was a little too clueless to keep a phone."
While the matter was resolved, it did bring up one other small problem for Nirenberg: explaining to his girlfriend why he still had the OKCupid account (which he insisted he hadn't used for months.)
"I'm not going to lie. It is kind of of awkward for me having that. But I guess it ended up working out in my favor," he said.
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