As many of you know, Monday night the unthinkable happened and my phone was stolen out of my bag. It went down so fast it made my head spin. I was walking on the north on the west side of back street and right at the parking lot between the Artists Market and San Pedro House of Culture. I did not have my cell phone out at all and I had my music player in my hand so my arm was up and mostly covering my bag. Along came Evil Houdini riding his bike at a good clip. While passing me from the front, he somehow managed to reach in my bag without slowing down or even touching me – that part is still baffling. The only reason I knew something happened was that my strap is adjustable and so his motion knocked one part of the strap off my shoulder and my bag dropped lower, it was also fully open compared to partly before. I spun around and he was already gone.
I was not scared or shaken, this is because I had already survived a bicycle thief trying to do a snatch and grab. You can read about it in Romance to Reality and my showdown with a robber. That time I was definitely shaken up and my friends saw it as soon as I reached Crazy Canucks Beach Bar minutes later. This time around had the thief been 5 seconds slower I would have pushed him over hard because there were people around and I felt safe. I was definitely bummed out though, my $700 Nexus 6p 128 gb phone was less than 6 months old, a replacement for my 32gb Nexus 5x that had died. Having recently witnessed how well my friend Aimee weathered the storm of her phone going missing in Mexico inspired me to suck it up.
If Your Cell Phone Gets Stolen Act Fast
Here is what to do for a stolen cell phone in Belize and more specifically on Ambergris Caye. Some of the tips will work anywhere. In my case it happened in the blink of an eye so I really did not get any details of the guy or even his bike color.
- I went to the police immediately and made a report. They were very nice and even let me use their phone to call BTL and immediately stop my sim card.
- Next I came home and changed my gmail password so my email and google drive are inaccessible. Then I changed Facebook which also logged me off of messenger.
- After that I started researching tracking a stolen Android phone (see info and links below)
Other Places To Report Your Phone Missing
While it may be a long shot to get your phone back there are 6 places in town 5 of which unlock or sell used phones. So there is a chance someone will try to get it unlocked here if the rat bastard crook does not take it off the island to sell it.
- Extreme Geeks on Middle Street. I stopped there to report my phone on the way to the Police station.
- Sea Turtle on Middle Street. Went there the next day with my info.
- Sherz store on Back Street. I contacted her on FB messenger soon as I got home from the police. She was the first to ask me for the IMEI serial number.
- C’s Phones on Back Street. They verified that changing my passwords would block anyone from my apps once phone got unlocked.
- Island Movie does not unlock or buy any used cell phones.
- 3 Brothers Pawn Shop on Pelican Street. It is a given crooks may try to unload a stolen phone at a pawn shop.
The day after, I wrote all my information down on paper and walked over to Gecko Graphics to print copies. I walked to each of the places above and handed them a copy. In addition to the IMEI, they can verify my phone unlocked by swipe and my fingerprints. I told them all if my phone turns up please stall the person and call the police. I would have said rat bastard but I am guessing the thief would have sold it locked to some unsuspecting person. If you do not know where you IMEI number is do yourself a favor, find it now and put it in a safe place in case you need it. As a further backup, email yourself a copy that way you have access to it no matter where you are.
Tracking a Stolen Android Phone
Use Android Device Manager from your laptop to try and find the location of your phone. Unfortunately it did not pick up my phone, although it did show it was last synced 1 hour ago. According to one page I read I may have screwed myself a bit as my thought process was in protection mode and I changed my passwords immediately, when I should have tried to track it first. Although upon further reading I have found android cell tracking is hit or miss so I cannot worry about it. I was able to hit an erase button and that will do a factory reset button as soon as my phone is turned on and unlocked. I hesitated for a second in doing this and then my brain kicked in to reality. On the odd chance I get my phone back what is the big deal of a few missing apps and pictures when I just lost my whole phone? – Silly me. In further reading I learned that Android Device Manager was mainly designed as a way to stop your data from getting stolen by remotely wiping the phone. I also learned that there is a ring option in device manager in case you loose your phone at home. Pushing it will make your device ring at full volume for 5 minutes. Of course I did that consecutively for about 1/2 hour and hopefully I pissed off the thief with a bit of nonstop ringing phone action 😀
Remotely Ring, Lock, or Erase a Lost Android Device
Here are a few good links I found in my research, some are for tracking a lost or stolen android phone and some are for beefing up your protection in advance. Android Authority has a good write up on How to find a lost or stolen android phone. It gives good advice for beefing up your protection. Since I had a few pages open I decided to see what other useful advice there was to share with people reading this post. If you or a friend lose a device that is signed in to a Google Account, you can use Android Device Manager to Remotely ring, lock, or erase a lost device that device. PC World tells you how to Protect your Android phone from loss or theft. This page gives more information on preventive measures to set your phone up in case the unthinkable happens and it gets stolen. Advanced sign-in security for your Google account. Learn how to set 2-step verification. This makes it harder for thieves as it requires two independent factors for authentication, much like you might see on your banking website: your password, plus a code obtained using your phone. Lets you remotely track, lock, and erase the data on a lost or stolen phone. It’s one of those services that you wish you’d never have to use, but you should set it up just in case. It never hurts to be prepared. Find your phone: the ultimate guide to Android Device Manager. There are a few ways to remote control and track your phone even if you haven’t installed a recovery app before it vanished. How To Track Your Lost Android Phone Without Installed Tracking App. This anti-theft feature makes it basically impossible for a thief to use your Nexus phone in the event it is stolen and wiped. [Guide] What Is Android 5.1’s Anti-Theft “Device Protection” Feature And How Do I Use It?
Every Cloud has a Silver Lining
Thankfully one of my of my island friends was stateside, willing to bring me a new phone on his return a week later. Although I was not happy with the unexpected expense, the joy of a new tech toy was my silver lining.
Featured image at top of page courtesy of cbsistatic.