Above all else, it’s a painful reminder that no place on Earth, be it the happiest or the most magical, is safe from those with ill intentions and David Longstreth of Pennsylvania and his family were among the latest victims to encounter the harshness of the real world infringing itself upon a Walt Disney World Vacation.
While spending some time relaxing at the Wilderness Lodge Pool with his family, Longstreth realized that the diaper bag he had placed by the chairs had gone missing. With the bag containing valuables such as his wallet, a digital camera and two iPhones, Longstreth decided to log on to the internet from his hotel room (after managing to obtain a replacement room key with no ID) and use the ‘Find My iPhone’ service to locate his missing iPhones. Once Longstreth noticed the phones were located on the boat launch to the Magic Kingdom, he hurried into action and had his wife notify management and security who were, at the time, legally helpless to assist Longstreth by asking to rummage through other apparent guests’ belongings without probable cause, forcing Longstreth to watch as the alleged thief headed towards the Magic Kingdom on the boat.
Instead, security borrowed an iPhone from a manager and downloaded the iPhone locator app and allowed Longstreth to login, allowing him once again to check on the location of the iPhone. This time, the iPhone was shown as being between the dock and the Magic Kingdom, making it clear that it was aboard the ferry. Security immediately alerted security at the Magic Kingdom and took Longstreth through Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon via high-speed boat to meet the ferry on the other side.
Security managed to lead the suspected thief to the park’s bag check where the bag believed to be containing Longstreth’s valuables was examined as is the routine procedure for all guests. Meanwhile, Longstreth took advantage of additional features of the phone locating service and remotely set a pop-up message on each of his phones and caused them to generate an audible alarm, offering easily identifiable proof that the phones belong to him. According to Longstreth’s personal account of the ordeal, the thief was found to have no less than six cell phones in his bag, two of which belonged to Longstreth. Many of Longstreth’s other items were discarded by the thief at the Wilderness Lodge and later recovered.
You can read full Longstreth’s personal account of nabbing the thief here. The iPhone locator service is now free for most of Apple’s current devices and can be found here. The droid also has a comparable free phone locator app/service. One should also be diligent in remembering that no place is a haven from crime, especially theft. A pickpocket only needs to be successful once to justify paying admission into the parks and that’s not counting the numerous places on property one can go without needing any sort of admission or proof of identity.
Special thanks to Dave Longstreth for sharing his story with us.