VIDEOS Man tracks down lost iPhone, beats up guy who has it

Kenneth Schmidgall iPhone thief brawl video Youtube

In what could very well be the second greatest lost iPhone recovery story ever (I’m still partial to the woman who posted photos taken by her iPhone thief — complete with sarcastic commentary — that were uploaded to the cloud without the guy knowing), Kenneth Schmidgall of San Diego used an app to track down his missing iPhone, and then got into a physical fight with the guy! All of which was caught on video!

The story began when Kenneth lost his iPhone on December 30. He tells he kept calling it, but no one would answer. So, he enlisted the help of his pal, local freelance photographer Greg Torkelson.

“We just wanted the phone back,” Torkelson said. “Some of it was a little bit of adrenaline… you know, it was the chase of trying to get the guy.”

The chase was possible thanks to the “Find My iPhone” app, which allows users to track their phone’s location using GPS. The two sleuths spent hours searching and eventually tracked Kenneth’s phone down to a man riding a bicycle. Schmidgall confronted the man at Torrey Pines State Reserve and the two got into a bit of a scuffle, all while Torkelson captured on video:

Eventually the fight ended after Torkelson pepper sprayed the man and another man who said he was an off-duty cop assisted holding the alleged phone thief down until police arrived.

I think my favorite line from the news report (narrowly beating out “Reporter Hannah Mullins explains how a high-tech search ended in a low-tech beating”) is when Hannah ponders aloud, “We had to wonder if it was worth drawing blood over an older iPhone.” I LOVE that she specified an older iPhone, because there would be no doubt that an iPhone 5 would be worth drawing blood over! Right? (By the way, I am crushing hard for Ms. Hannah Mullins! She can find my iPhone any time!)

Schmidgall addressed Hannah’s concerns. “It’s not the phone that’s so much important,” he said. “It’s that people get away with this kind of stuff all the time with cellphones being stolen.”

Click to enlarge:
Kenneth Schmidgall beats up guy who stole his iPhoneGreg Torkelson iPhone brawl photographer

Torkelson (photo above right) then added, “Hopefully, he won’t try this again and that anybody else out there that’s seen the video or is watching the segment will also think twice before stealing somebody’s phone.”

“I do think I taught him his lesson,” said Schmidgall. “I really don’t think people should be going out and getting in fights with people because of their cellphones but there comes a point when you have to stand up for yourself and say, ‘This is my stuff, and I’m not going to let people get away with taking it.'”

I tried to track down the original Youtube clip with no luck, but here’s another news report about the incident that includes a little bit of the chase itself:

So what do you think? Did Kenneth and Torkelson go too far? Should they have just called police when they had the guy in sight? (I’m assuming at least Torkleson still had a phone.)