How To Get Your Stolen Cell Phone Back Almost Every Time!

Real Estate Agent with Campo Realty

We have all heard about someone having their cell phone lost or stolen.  One thing that is certain with all of the smartphone technology.  The phones are just getting more and more expensive!

How to Recover a Stolen Cell Phone

This fall, my new cell phone was stolen from the local high school during a sporting event.  Under contract, the replacement cost for the same phone was over $500.00 and I was not ready to let the bad guy win and give up without a fight.  Unfortunately I did not have the Find My iPhone app activated on my phone, but luckily I did have all of my real estate contacts backed up on my computer.

I reported the cell phone stolen with the police department.   The police department entered the cell phone serial number into Leads, LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES DATA SYSTEM, so if a police officer from anywhere in the U.S. locates the cell phone and runs the serial number through dispatch, it will return stolen.  I knew that this was probably not likely to happen, but it is still standard procedure.

Most stolen iPhones are powered down and the sim cards are removed.  Next the thief adds their own sim card or gets a sim card activated for the card.

What I did know that most people are not aware of is that all cell phone numbers have their own distinct identifying numbers that can be remotely tracked by their 15 digit IMEI number.  I contacted our local representative for my phone carrier and let provided them with the IMEI number.  The phone carrier entered the number into their database as a stolen phone incase someone wanted to activate a sim card to the IMEI number.  I assumed this was going to be a waste of time, but just another step I felt that I had to take.

Finally, I knew the most important step that was most likely to get my phone back.  I WAITED!  I waited approximately one month thinking that it would take awhile for the thief to get comfortable using the phone or selling it to an unsuspecting person.  I then  contacted the reporting officer for a followup.  I asked the reporting officer to obtain a search warrant from my cell phone carrier to obtain cell phone records to track my IMEI number.  The reporting officer had a search warrant prepared and signed by a judge.  The reporting officer sent the search warrant to my phone carrier's Law Enforcement Compliance Center.   Approximately 2 weeks later my phone carrier delivered approximately 600 pages of data on a cd with detailed records of the 3 phone numbers and account holder information for the 3 phone numbers.  After sifting through the data, the reporting officer contacted the account holder that last used the phone, made contact,  and recovered my stolen phone.

It took some almost 2 months to recover the phone but it was well worth it! 

All of the prosecution details are being sorted out and the legal system works very slowly but I am in possession of my phone again!

The only instance that this will not work is when the stolen cell phone is sold and shipped overseas.  If the phone remains in the United States it can be tracked as long as it is used.



Posted by

Ryan Gorman ~ Realtor 217.825.3930 Campo Realty Inc. Pawnee, Illinois



Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Barbara Tattersall 01/09/2012 10:18 PM
Active Rain Newbies
Gadgets, Tools, & Extras
Out Of The Box!
Illinois Real Estate
how to recover a stolen cell phone in illinois

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

Now that is amazing, I don't know that i could be without a cell phone that long. I am also wondering if it is just the iphone that has that feature, or is it all cell phones these days.

Jan 09, 2012 09:57 PM #1
Ryan Gorman
Campo Realty - Chatham, IL

Janis, Hi.  Yes any cell phone can be tracked by the IMEI number.  Luckily, we had an older spare phone that was able to use until my phone was returned.

Jan 09, 2012 10:23 PM #2
Bud & Beth McKinney
Cary/Raleigh/Apex NC - The Team That Cares, RE/MAX United

Ryan I hope you had a loaner phone.   I would have gone nuts.   Great patience on your part.

Jan 09, 2012 11:01 PM #3
Don Hess
KW Elite Keller Williams 1280 Plaza Blvd. Lancaster, PA 17601 - Quarryville, PA

Great information, I had no idea that this could be done. Thanks much.

Jan 10, 2012 03:40 AM #4
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Ryan Gorman

Ask me a question
Spam prevention