Woman tracks stolen iPhone to Starbucks; employee inexplicably kicks her out of shop

“A woman claims she was kicked out of a Starbucks coffee shop after she located the man she said stole her cell phone.,” Foti Kallergis reports for KFSN-TV. “‘I’m sorry ma’am, you have to go. You have to go. You can’t do this here,’ Jana Erwin said the barista told to her Monday.”

“Minutes earlier the teenage suspect was seen on surveillance video walking alone Persa Street just before he approached Erwin’s home. ‘I’m on a busy street. Lots of construction,’ Erwin said. ‘He needed to use the phone to call his mom,'” Kallergis reports. “Erwin decided to hand her phone over to the teenager. A minute later, the surveillance video shows the teen running away with Erwin’s phone in hand.”

“The suspect was able to get away. Erwin said she called the police, and then tried to track her iPhone using her ‘Find My iPhone’ app. She got it. ‘It showed that my phone was right around the corner. I look at it and I realize it’s at Starbucks,’ said Erwin,'” Kallergis reports. “Erwin said instead of getting help, she got the boot from the barista. The suspect was able to get away a second time. Erwin said the bottom line is she got her cell phone back, that said she is upset with those who did nothing to help catch the suspect.”

Read more in the full article here.

59 Comments

    1. It’s jackholes like this that make people reluctant to help others. Another incident recently had a Good Samaritan’s phone and car stolen after he stopped to help at a single-car accident (which the suspect had just stolen minutes before).

    2. Come on people. He was just wanting to use the free WiFi at Starbucks and everyone is panicking. Give the snivelling thief a break – break his legs and ensure that he leaves the rest of us alone.

  1. 1. Idiot gives her iPhone to a complete stranger
    2. Stranger runs into Starbucks
    3. Idiot chases him there and the Starbucks staff want nothing to do with it
    4. Suspect gets away
    5. Idiot bitches and moans that the Starbucks staff didn’t help solve a problem she created for herself.

    Idiot expects the world to clean up her mess and solve her problems. That’s why she’s an idiot.

    The next time a teenage stranger asks u for ur phone, keep moving. I wish she never got her phone back. It would teach her a lesson.

    1. The world is becoming a sad, sad place when we are all trained to be suspicious of everyone out there. For every one case where a thief tries to steal your phone by asking to borrow it, there are 200 of people in genuine need, hoping against hope to come across a good Samaritan who could help.

      People want to be good; they don’t want to be cold and selfish. This type of thinking (be suspicious of everyone, avoid eye contact, don’t get involved) goes against our nature, but is has been effectively forced upon us by the society that doesn’t know how to handle the increasing crime rates. The “don’t get involved” concept is even more isolating: when someone is in danger and is crying for help, we are now being instructed NOT to try to help, NOT to expose ourselves to danger, but to wait for professionals to arrive (call them if nobody did already) and just wait. This is why we often see people stand and observe an altercation between two people, where one is clearly on the receiving end of serious abuse, yet nobody will do anything because they were told to leave it to the law enforcement professionals and not risk their own lives.

      What is by far the worst of it all is when the few remaining good Samaritans are labeled as idiots…

      1. No way. Nobody, but nobody should be expected to put themselves in the line of potential fire for other people, especially resulting from stupidity. I want to live and work hard to make the right decisions.

        I’m a good person and will help, to a point. With all of the crazy, violent, gun yielding people in the world ur an idiot for thinking people are just going to dive headfirst into stuff like this. There is every posdibility that this could have turned into something much worse, “Starbucks employee tries to help customer regarding stolen phone, gets shot and killed.”

        The best thing to do is not to be a hero and let the stupid phone go. I can only imagine what people would be saying if the suspect shot the girl. Give up the self righteous attitude.

        1. While I don’t expect a Starbucks barista to jump in, tackle the kid, and wrestle the iPhone away, I certainly would expect him to call the police and have them sort it out rather than kick her out of the store. And you rant about not helping people is a big part of the problems in today’s world. If we would all just help each other a little more, it would be a far, far better place to live.

          1. You don’t know the whole story and neither do I. However, what the hell do u expect a Barista to do? Or anyone else? They had nothing to do with what happened. Some girl comes charging in with a find my iPhone bit. Why should anyone believe her. What if she was lying? What if the suspect had a gun? What if he wanted to fight? Nobody knew the back story, neither could they have. That’s why u leave this stuff to “profesionals” and not be a hero over a damn cell phone.

            1. You don’t know the whole story and neither do I.

              I think you should read and think about the last part of your statement again. Maybe a few times, if necessary. Ok, now one more time but a little slower. Obviously you don’t mind passing judgment on the “idiot bitch” despite not knowing the whole story yourself.

              No one suggested that anyone be a hero. In fact, the victim did want people to call the “professionals,” like you are advocating .I seriously question whether you even understood the small portion of the story that MDN printed.

            2. According to the story, she’d already called the police. What more was the Starbucks employee expected to do? Call the police on her for disturbing the peace?

              She’s making a scene? She’s got to go outside and make it.

            3. “You don’t know the whole story and neither do I.”

              I think you should read and think about the last part of your statement again. Maybe a few times, if necessary. Ok, now one more time but a little slower. Obviously you don’t mind passing judgment on the “idiot bitch” despite not knowing the whole story yourself.

              No one suggested that anyone be a hero. In fact, the victim did want people to call the “professionals,” like you are advocating .I seriously question whether you even understood the small portion of the story that MDN printed.

        2. You are truly a sad, sad person if you really think and live life that way.

          Judgement of course gets you a long way; obviously, if you are in an unfamiliar place, it is dark and you are alone, and the assailant looks physically menacing, common sense will tell you not to be a hero. But if you are in the middle of a full Starbucks, in broad daylight, and your assailant is a teenager, more than likely the teen isn’t that stupid to actually fire a gun into somebody over a phone he tried to steal. Nobody is that stupid. In fact, more than likely, he won’t even have a gun.

          The problem I have in this particular case isn’t that the woman chased the teen down to Starbucks; she exercised judgement and determined that the risk is low enough. My problem is that, with the safety of a crowded Starbucks, the employee chose to confront the victim instead of the assailant. Not only that; she confronted her in the most rude and obnoxious way, essentially siding with the assailant and making sure he has plenty of time to flee. This is simply impossible to explain away; not even with some blanket “corporate policy” legal fig leaf.

          1. Pedrag:

            I’m going to run into Starbucks when ur there next and demand u help me get my iPhone back from a stranger. We’ve never met before. You have no idea if I’m telling u the truth. You weren’t a witness when the phone was stolen. I expect ur full cooperation that u’ll join in the fight to get my phone back.

            The smart thing to do is let the phone go and not get involved because u have no way of knowing what really happened. No amount of ur hand waving is going to change that.

            I see this stuff all the time being from Vancouver’s downtown eastside. I’ve seen people shot and stabbed in the eye with a bloody needle for no apparent reason.

            Wake up.

            1. I expect ur full cooperation

              Why on earth would you expect full cooperation? The victim certainly didn’t.

              I see this stuff all the time being from Vancouver’s downtown eastside. I’ve seen people shot and stabbed in the eye with a bloody needle for no apparent reason.
              This would be a good reason for Starbucks, or someone there, to have called the police, which is what the victim was hoping they would do.

            2. I expect ur full cooperation.”

              Why on earth would you expect full cooperation? The victim certainly didn’t.

              “I see this stuff all the time being from Vancouver’s downtown eastside. I’ve seen people shot and stabbed in the eye with a bloody needle for no apparent reason.”

              This would be a good reason for Starbucks, or someone there, to have called the police, which is what the victim was hoping they would do.

            3. I’m not sure what kind of neighbourhnood Vancouver’s downtown eastside is, but where I currently live (Manhattan), in 23 years, I haven’t seen anyone shot or stabbed in the eye with a bloody needle (reason or no reason). In face, I have yet to witness an aggravated crime of any kind (and I live in Harlem). Even minor things I very rarely see.

              Vast majority of normal places don’t require such selfish, suspicious attitude. While nobody has any right to expect anyone else to jump to their aid, you also shouldn’t expect anyone to jump to your assailant’s aide and force you out of their shop.

            4. 1. This wasn’t life or death: she wasn’t hurt. If she was, this is totally different.
              2. She is an idiot BECAUSE she gave her phone to a stranger. Period. Not all women are idiots. Not all people are idiots. But she is for doing this.
              3. I have no idea what the laws are in the US but in Canada Find My iPhone is pretty much useless: the cops will not use it to execute a search. Maybe the rare case where it shows at a residential address but they can’t rely on it. For example a little dot at Hastings and Abbott. What building? And they won’t search apartment/business buildings because it doesn’t tell tjem what unit. And they can’t rely on it legally to search either.
              4. This is a phone. So somebody stole your phone because you were stupid enough to give it to them. The sky is not falling. This isn’t enough of a crime to stop everything. Deal with it yourself.
              5. Hindsight is 20/20. Nobody knew this girl from anything. She could have been lying, crazy, the suspect could have been crazy. You sit in your basements and call the shots after they happen. Somebody stole my MacBook Pro and iPhone for real. Can you get off your butt and help me find it?

              I guarantee you guys wouldn’t care if this was a Windows Phone. What’s disgusting about all this is how crazy people get over a fruity brand. Your cell phone got stolen because you screwed up. Nothing to worry about. Minor. Deal with it, learn from it, and move on.

            5. You are clearly a sad, sad person. You label this person an idiot because she offered help when someone asked for help. In today’s world, in a civilised society, one of the personal qualities that is considered important and valued highly is compassion. Civilised people value and respect those who show compassion (by offering help to others, or helping when asked). No civilised society will call a good Samaritan an idiot.

              As for hindsight, in this specific situation, it is quite obvious that it was extremely low risk from all angles. There were two possible scenarios: In one, the woman was the victim and the teenager was the thief. In the other, the woman was crazy, or vindictive, or had some agenda, and the teenager was innocent. In either of the two scenarios, danger for any possible good Samaritans in that Starbucks store was practically non-existent. Getting involved with the situation (by any one person) could have resulted in one of the two outcomes: by looking at the phone (and having it unlocked by either the boy or the women), it would have been clear who was the owner of the device. One way or the other, the perpetrator would have been clearly identified and delivered to the law enforcement.

              I am truly disgusted by this cavalier attitude about giving up our property when we have it stolen. Not long ago, I had left behind an iPad in the rental car when I returned it. Half an hour later, I realised this, called back the car rental agency and was told that the iPad wasn’t there. Without getting into numerous details about the story, I never recovered my iPad (but it did ping somewhere in Brooklyn four days later on “Find My iPhone”). It is my own fault for not checking with my kids what they did with the iPad when we returned the car. What infuriates me the most is that someone at that car rental agency simply took something that wasn’t theirs. They took it without a second thought. The most idiotic concept in today’s society is “finders-keepers”. In what world is this right???

            6. Pedrag:

              Here’s the difference between you and me:

              The pessimist complains about the weather; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sail.

              The world we live in is what is it is. People lie, steal and cheat and kill each other constantly. This is reality. And it’s not going to change in our lifetime because we all still compete for the most badic resources to keep ourselves alive: we’re primitive. So accept it and deal with it. I don’t care that someone stole your iPad because that’s life. You were stupid enough to leave it in a rental car. I want a better world but accept the FACT that people are opportunistic and underhanded.

    2. Ah, I remember a day not so long ago when helping a stranger didn’t automatically get you robbed, and when others would call you an idiot bitch for actually trying to help your fellow man.

      We truly are living in some sad times.

    3. Dftr writes at point 5 “Idiot bitches and moans that the Starbucks staff didn’t help solve a problem she created for herself.”

      Translation – Person complains and gripes about the lack of assistance.

      Dftr didn’t call the person a bitch or imply that women are idiots.

      I suggest Dftr that you express your thoughts in a more mature and considered fashion in future.

    4. I think a good definition of “coward” is someone who refuses to even try to help another in need because they are too afraid they might some some precious object.

      Having compassion for strangers sometimes leads getting taken advantage of – it sucks, but it’s better than living life as some chickenshit coward, imho.

  2. Don’t theses idiots yet know stealing an iPhone that has a pin cannot be used for very long once they have to enter the pin again? Neither can they be restored to factory spec with that same pin? It’s a brick to anyone (even Apple) but the owner who knows the pin (or Touch I.D.). Glad the lady get the phone back but as soon as you know the location then call for backup.

    BTW I recovered a stolen iPod Touch when the perp sold it to an unsuspecting person who could not restore it so called me on the number that displayed on the iPod (saying it was a stolen iPod) as soon as it was near WiFi. I had to pay the person what they bought it for on Craigslist but a lot less than new. I should have followed up and gotten the contact number on Craiglist and found the actual thief.

    This stuff cannot be rewarded by theft, it has to be a headache of monumental proportions for unauthorized crooks to try to use. And widely known as such. Apple should promote this fact so thieves everywhere take heed though there’s always someone who doesn’t get the memo.

    1. I accidentally left my iPad at an In-n-Out one night after my sons’ football game. I realized it about 9 miles down the highway, but just as I was turning around, a teenage girl at the In-n-Out called me and said she had found it. She held it right at the booth we were in until I returned. So there are quite a few good stories out there, and good people too.

      1. Funny I too left my own iPad 3 in an In ‘N Out Burger too (only time I ever did that) and freaked when I realized it was not to be found at home. I used my iPhone 5 to track it down to this store I had just been to and they had it safe and sound behind the counter and asked to see proof it was mine – respectively looking out for the owner.

        INO rocks in every wonderful way. An amazing family owned business started by Harry & Esther Snyder in Baldwin Park in 1948 (the original lone stand there getting visited by the biggest Hollywood luminaries in the 50’s going out to Palm Springs – Bob Hope was a rabid fan for life though I once served Hope a Jumbo Jack with cheese, fries and a milk when I worked at Jack In The Box at age 19 – a LOOONG time ago) that treats it’s “associates” (employees) very well indeed and the fresh, never frozen, comfort food of course is beloved by all in their West Coast region, including all the secret list items. Animal style anyone? 🙂

        I sound like an ad for them but those who love INO are enthusiastic fans for life. INO is to burgers what Apple is to tech with the soundest and dependable operational styles.

        Yep it seems like all the bad, dishonest and criminal folks get all the PR. I agree plenty of good hearted, honest, hamburger loving folks out there, like you and me. 🙂 🙂 🙂

        1. Yep, my whole family loves INO, except my vegetarian daughter 🙁

          I am now in a part of the country where they don’t know how to spell In-n-Out. Miss ’em lots.

          1. My condolences on your loss. 🙂 I too have had to work out of the area for long stretches and start to dream of INO. You hear celebrities all the time be asked “what’s the first thing they did coming back to L.A. after a long absence shooting elsewhere” and it’s usually straight to INO. You can’t oversell it to first timers though some of whom wonder what all the fuss is about. No accounting for lack of taste buds. 🙂

    2. It’s a brick to anyone (even Apple)

      Actually, Apple can wipe the phone and reinstall the OS on it. They can’t recover any encrypted data on the phone, though.

      -jcr

      1. That’s not what I heard. I heard they were powerless to do anything without the password. Of course anyone who would need Apple to wipe the phone, if possible, would no doubt would find themselves being asked a lot of ownership questions.

  3. Funny story: I used to have a retail store. Home Decor. Frequented by women. We suspected an elderly woman shoplifter. As I approached she left the store and I followed her thru the parking lot. I did not break out in a run as I thought I could out walk the ole lady. But she kept up a good pace and I was slowed as I picked up some of the merchandise she was dropping. She rounded the corner where there was a Starbucks. Don’t know what it is with Starbuck patrons but they were not on my side. Afterwards, I thought it must have looked funny a middle age man chasing a woman old enough to be his mother. I got boo’ed etc by the Starbuck’s people. I escorted the police to her apartment and I could not believe what happened next: the (Los Angeles) police informed me they knew her, she was a frequent shoplifter in the area and was not interested in pursuing the issue. What an eye-opener. Let me tell ya, if you wonder why I have sympathy for the store owner, this is why. We get screwed in so many ways and the law, and the Starbuck patrons, are not on our side.

    1. What the?! I can comprehend the misunderstanding issue inside a Starbucks. I was going to suggest the woman in the story call the cops next time and have THEM walk into the Starbucks to do an arrest and retrieval.

      But! WTF is going on with Los Angeles police that they won’t pursue known frequent shoplifter? Is there some horror level a crime must reach before the cops give a rat’s? Not acceptable. My neighborhood watch group would skin those lazy ass cops alive. (We’ve nearly done it before! It was a great way to get the cops serious about protecting our neighborhood, which they now do).

  4. Starbucks, your leftist progressive view operation asks patrons with conceal carry to leave guns at home. If they are going to take away one more option for the discerning public, at least they could help instead of kick the lady out! Nice going Starbucks!

    1. Have Gun Will Travel reads the card of a man.
      A knight without armor in a savage land.
      His fast gun for hire heed’s the calling wind.
      A soldier of fortune is the man called Paladin.

      Paladin, Paladin
      Where do you roam?
      Paladin, Paladin,
      Far, far from home.

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