Jeremy Cook

We often read success stories about how people use Find My iPhone or other tracking tools to locate their lost or stolen smartphone and end up recovering it. But we easily forget there is a sad flip side to these kind of stories, and the death of Canadian teenager Jeremy Cook is the tragic reminder of that.

After locating his lost smartphone at a specific address, Cook was confronted by three people and ultimately shot dead while trying to retrieve the phone. The specifics of the story don’t really matter (you can read the whole story on CBC). What matters is that an 18 year old kid lost his life trying to recover his lost phone.

The moral of that story is that you should never confront people who found or stole your device. Of course it’s ok to try to get in touch with them to recover the device – Find My iPhone lets you add a custom message on the Lock screen to help with that – but one should not risk his life for a piece of electronics.

Instead, it is highly recommended to alert the police or local authorities and have them do the work. I’m sure that depending on where you live, the police may or may not have the time or manpower to take care of such cases, but it’s worth trying nonetheless. Your life is more important than your smartphone.

Learn more about Find My iPhone

  • Jason Baroni

    I totally respect his family’s loss, but you must be an idiot to try to recover it on your own.

    • I’ve been through tracking down lost devices, the cops don’t want to do anything either, unless someone is hurt.

      • Jason Baroni

        Really? I thought it wouldn’t quite happen in US, because I’ve been reading various reports about the police helping the victims. It’s a shame anyway in your case, bro :

      • Not my phone, a coworker had her phone stolen from someone at her other job. It was stolen by another coworker and it was tracked to her house. The cops wouldn’t do anything about it.

      • Jason Baroni

        I had my 4S stolen by a coworker, too. It sucks a lot

      • Digitalfeind

        They treat it as a low priority if anything.

      • That wouldn’t be the case if the person were famous or had been a police officer. Their priorities suck.

      • Antzboogie


      • Antzboogie

        The cops are so lazy and don’t care about our problems most of the time they just brush you off like your a fool for losing you iPhone. This is one of the many reasons why people are rebelling against these lazy and inconsiderate public servants. Rest In Peace Jeremy Cook

      • Stefano

        yeah I’ve been there. att wants a police report and the whole 9 yards and the police just don’t even care. in NYC where i live thats protocol; even with the whole new thing (year or so) on in NYC where they once claimed NYC police have a new way of recovering your apple devices.

    • Aziz Men L’Dawar

      Its not stupid, the police wont help you if your iphone wasnt stolen from you by force…
      sad news anyways :/

      • Jason Baroni

        So accept you just lost your phone for a thief. It is stupid you try to recover it on your own, man. Don’t try to be the hero. It’s not easy to get a new phone. My LOCKED iPhone 6 Plus cost me US$1.500. I got it because I do work hard. If it is stolen, well, fine, because I will still live to keep on working and getting the things I most want in life, all from my effort.

      • Aziz Men L’Dawar

        1500? Are you from Brasil or something.
        Btw i swore i would never waste money on phone, because i know that eventually i will get them for a price really low.

      • Jason Baroni

        Brazil, definitely. We have a “good” contract deal to light up this price, but anyway. We only agree to this because we want good technology, too.

    • S.Curry

      Actually Ive helped a buddy recover his stolen phone and when I found the lady I threatened the cops if she didn’t hand it over. I guess I wasn’t scared because I was packing heat (ccw of course). In Brazil I wouldnt even dare pulling out an iPhone in public, too many traficantes and I wouldn’t have a gun.

      -I feel your pain on the iphone price too Jason, I lived in Belo Horizonte for a couple years and know the prices you guys are paying for apple products.

      • Jason Baroni

        Thanks, S.

        Actually going on public with an iPhone on hands isn’t a big deal nowadays in Brazil, but you should mind that it is a risk for the life to try to recover your stolen phone on your own after the robbery. Reacting to thieves is a also huge danger when you reach them at some location you found on the web. The police doesn’t recommend it at all, actually. In the case reported above, the guy went against 3 men, like, really?

      • Jason Baroni

        BTW I love Belo Horizonte and Minas Gerais itself.

      • S.Curry

        Yeah it was way cool while I was there, the craziest thing I thought was how much everyone loved their soccer teams, either cruziero or galo hahah it was nuts

    • He left the phone in a cab. It would be easy to believe the cab driver simply took it home to await the owner’s call

    • Lewis Kluttz

      Your statement is quite cruel. He was 18 years old! He may have even tried other venues. This is something a lot of people might try. This is very sad.

      • johnsm

        might try and it is stupid

      • Jason Baroni

        I am not being cruel at all. It is just a point of view. To me, my life is more valuable than my phone.

    • Chris

      Totally agree respect to your family’s lost but I am 36y old and i wouldn’t goto a house to track my phone

  • CS

    And don’t call 911 unless you or someone else was injured, the iPhone theft was part of a larger theft, or it was armed robbery. If the guy just took your phone off a table when you weren’t looking, don’t waste a 911 call, just call the non-emergency line

    • Jason Baroni

      What is the number of a non-emergency line?

      • RandomAwesomeGuy

        Each city has an independent number. Try google.

      • Jason Baroni

        Just asked because I don’t live in US, but it would be nice to spill it out here

      • Byron C Mayes

        As RAG said, it depends on the jurisdiction. Surely your local police department has a listed number somewhere.

      • Jason Baroni

        In my country it doesn’t make a difference. We have two numbers, being one kind for each emergency and other for denunciations.

    • assumes

      Being a 911 call taker, I conquer. I’ve had my share of people calling 911 for lost phones..(and other no emergency nonsense) Total waste of resources and ties up emergency lines which can potentially interfere in helping in a life or death scenario. Use your heads people !!

      • George

        Wow I didn’t know people were that stupid to use 911 for such idiotic reasons, stop being careless about your things and maybe you won’t get your phone stolen.

      • assumes

        Yup! It’s called being lazy! Instead of looking in a phone book, calling 411, or even doing a quick google search on their smartphone(most people do nowadays) they just call 911. People abuse it. But the best part, it’s repeated offenders that always call. Lol. It’s ridiculous to even imagine that really, if there wasn’t any stupid people on this planet, I wouldn’t I’d get laid off. Sad but true.

      • Bugs Bunnay

        Damn right. Lets be thankful for once. Having them drive on the freeway is another story…

      • Geekoid

        Yeah, and how would they do a quick google search on the phone that just got stolen? 😀

      • therealjjohnson

        If you see someone breaking into a car should you call the police?

      • Bugs Bunnay

        You can if you want. Others would rather pop them. Exercise your 2nd.

      • Bugs Bunnay

        Thing is… Some of us don’t have heads!

      • Antzboogie

        So this wasn’t a life or death situation? Someone is dead you idiot people like you is why my taxes are going to sh#%

      • assumes

        You guys are missing the point here. And by all means, I’m not taking away attention from him.. I was just saying that people do call 911 for stupidity which does tie up emergency lines. Had he made the call to police, advised them of the theft and that he had it tracked, should of waited for police rather then doing it on his own. This isn’t the first time shit like this has happen. It’s sad when this could have been avoided. And my condolences to the family. What I had mentioned was not to insult him or the family. You guys were just missing the point. My point was people call 911 for none emergency calls. Dogs barking, noise complaints, etc. And in regards to your comment about taxes and I’m the cause, you’ll be happy I’m there when you dial your cry for help.. Just saying!

      • deepdvd

        You conquer? Hmm… maybe you mean “concur”.

  • Vijay

    RIP Jeremy cook
    Screw you’ll thieves.

    • Bugs Bunnay

      Yea… Screw you’ll thieves!

      • White Michael Jackson


  • Brandon Higgins

    I’ve had the police recover an iPhone for me. I even helped them investigate the address and name of the theif.

  • My condolences to the family.

    Americans, Canadians and people in the first world may be shock because of this, but truth is that in developing countries this happens, and happens a lot. People get injured, even killed, in robberies.
    In order to that, sometimes is better just lock and disable the phone, and lose it.

    Nothing is more valuable than life.

  • f1ght3r

    I’ve recovered my phone from a self proclaimed “thug”. He told me I should just leave it alone, and he doesn’t want to have to hurt me… After a brief “scuffle” he and his buddy were begging me to stop. I walked away with my phone and their dignity.

    • Congrats, you shouldn’t have to fight for your own device but its good you got your stuff back.

    • TotallySerious

      good stuff man

    • Byron C Mayes

      It’s good you got your stuff, but you’re lucky they didn’t have (or know how to use) a gun. Tends to trump muscle.

  • This is so stupid, how does the thief think they’ll be able to do anything with the phone anyway.. with all the locks and security just give it back.

    • pegger1

      They sell it to someone who doesn’t know better.

      • This is true. If you go on Ebay and search for “iPhone faulty iCloud”, you’ll see countless listings for stolen iPhones that are listed as “faulty iCloud activation lock randomly locked me out and I can’t remember my password so I’m selling it here, it’s an easy fix”. But to the random layperson they might think they’re actually getting a good deal only to find a stolen iPhone that can’t be used.

    • Byron C Mayes

      They sell it for “parts.”

      Most stolen stuff isn’t stolen for personal use of the thief.

      • therealjjohnson

        I agree. There are tons of iPhone repair shops that buy all old iphones. Usually for parts so they can fix paying customers phones.

      • My store does not provide this service. If a device comes in with an iCloud lock we recommend taking it to Apple store or returning it.

  • Virus

    He should have knocked on their door with a shotgun instead – RIP

  • Jeremy Spencer

    This was in my city! I heard about it on the radio Monday morning, wasn’t expecting to hear about it here. The police said that if you have a lost phone just contact them and they’ll go to the location. Seems like there’s another homocide every month.

    • socrates

      It’s interesting to see how each department feels about different categorical situations. Some say contact the non-emergency line, others, such as yours, say they’ll handle it.

  • I wonder what color the 3 guys were, I mean the phone…

  • Jordan Agaran Riley

    Despite all the comments disregarding the fact that a kid lost his life. I think it’s sad that there are people that are low enough to prioritize a material object over the importance of someone life. It’s heartbreaking really…you honestly need an iPhone that bad? You need seriously need to kill an 18 year old kid for it?

  • johnsm

    killed by 3 blacks. then you wonder why stuff like today’s US shooting happens.

    • Whoa, you took it too far. In no way, shape, or form can that justified.

  • Aviel Yagudaev A

    When i was at Russia the Police helped trying recovering a stolen iPad 2 of mine.
    Bad part was it was taken to another country…
    But they did their best, taking me with them and searching last location detected…

    Even though unrecovered, i was very thankful…

  • taran

    I never understood Find my iPhone. It’s so easy to just switch off the phone. Apple should disable wifi from control center on lock screen as well as switching off without a passcode.

  • Mark S

    “one should not risk his life for a piece of electronics.” Tell that to the black friday shoppers.