iPhone thief nailed by MobileMe contact sync

Say what you will about MobileMe, but there’s at least one iPhone owner out there glad that he plunked down $100 bucks for it. Not only did it lead to the return of his stolen iPhone, but it left him with a tale for the e-ages.

Here’s how it went down, according to TUAW: One day, a gent named Rob went to the dry cleaners, and somehow managed to walk away one whole iPhone lighter. Disappointed at his loss but sure it was gone for good, Rob cruised over to the Apple store to pick up a new one. He activated iPhone #2, plugged in his MobileMe account info, and went about his business.

The next day, Rob noticed that a few new contacts had shown up on the second handset. Apparently, the thief hadn’t thought to brush up on his smartphone syncing technologies before walking off with someone else’s stuff. When the thief added his buddies numbers to the phone, MobileMe automatically synced the changes, in turn adding them to Rob’s new iPhone. Rob started ringing up the anomalous numbers; a few calls later (including one to the police), they’d tracked down the handset’s self-imposed new owner. Later that evening, it was back in Rob’s possession.

Not unlike many tales of the internet, this one ends with eBay, where he’s selling the recovered handset in hopes of “offsetting the expense of [his] new iPhone, as well as the $150 speeding ticket [he] got rushing down to the Apple Store that night to purchase the new phone”. Could it be a tall tale for the sake of driving eyes to his eBay auction? Sure – but even if it is, he deserves the link for creativity.