A vigilante iPhone owner has tracked down a man who allegedly stole the gadget by using a location app – and then filmed their violent confrontation.
Kenneth Schmidgall, a 26-year-old construction worker from San Diego, California, took the law into his own hands after the phone was taken at a reggae concert on December 28.
After he repeatedly called the phone to no answer, he and his friend Greg Torkelson launched an iPhone app two days later called ‘Find My iPhone’ to track down the device using GPS.
They spent hours tracking the phone’s signal until they realised it led to a man riding a bicycle.
‘I saw the gentleman on the bike and we followed it and kept tracking it and every time [the tracker] would stop, the guy on the bike would stop,’ Schmidgall told ABC News 10.
With a hand-held camera rolling, they followed the man, losing him three times before they eventually caught up with him at the Torrey Pines State Reserve.
On the footage, which has since spread across social networking sites, Schmidgall can be seen getting hit in the face. He claims the alleged thief pushed his face while holding a rock.
VIDEO: Man tackles alleged thief over iPhone
Assistance: An off-duty police officer eventually helped pin down the man, who was also peppersprayed
TRACKING DOWN YOUR MISPLACED GADGETS: THE FIND MY iPHONE APP
The app used by Mr Schmidgall is called Find My iPhone and uses the phone’s signal to locate it and lead the owner to the gadget.
Using another Apple device, the owner can switch on the app and the location of the missing phone will be displayed on a map. It can also make the phone play a sound – in case it’s lost somewhere within the room – display a message, remotely lock the phone or erase all of its data.
The app is free from the Apple Store.
The two continued to fight for 18 minutes – pushing and trying to knock the other to the ground – until Torkelson said he pepper-sprayed the man and attempted make a citizen’s arrest.
An off-duty police officer then approached the men and pinned him on the ground until authorities arrived and took him away.
The video also shows him handing over the iPhone.
‘We just wanted the phone back,’ Torkelson, a photographer, said. ‘Some of it was a little bit of adrenaline… you know, it was the chase of trying to get the guy.’
Schmidgall was left with a cut on the lip and a few scratches, while the alleged thief was also left with scrapes on his hands and face. Schmidgall said the man may have been on drugs.
When asked if an iPhone was worth getting injured, Schmidgall said: ‘It’s not the phone that’s so much important. It’s that people get away with this kind of stuff all the time with cellphones being stolen.
Plan: Greg Torkelson, left, filmed the altercation as the phone owner, Schmidgall, right, tackled the man
‘I do think I taught him his lesson. I really don’t think people should be going out and getting in fights with people because of their cellphones but there comes a point when you have to stand up for yourself and say, “This is my stuff, and I’m not going to let people get away with taking it”.’
Torkelson said the alleged thief was taken into custody for outstanding warrants, although police have not yet confirmed this.
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