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iPhone Stolen in Bogota Colombia…I felt so VIOLATED!

“Rewind 30 seconds, and a guy on a motorbike beautifully swiped my iPhone out of my hand. Jason Bourne style.”

Fuck, fuck, fuck!
How did this happen?
iPhone stolen on my third day in Colombia, and I have 22 days left!

One second I’m standing on the curb waiting to cross the street,
and the next I’m running down the street hysterically shouting,
“No! Why’d you do that?”

Rewind 30 seconds…
And, a guy on a motorbike beautifully swiped my iPhone out of my hand.
Jason Bourne style.

Complete and utter devastation washed over me.
My phone is my motherfuckin life line!
Especially in a country I’ve never been to.

The thoughts started flooding in…

  • What do I do now?
  • Where can I find WiFi to log into FindMyiPhone?
  • Why didn’t I Uber from the restaurant?
  • Why didn’t he take the leftovers instead?
  • Why didn’t my dumb ass move out of the way?
  • How much will I have to spend to fix this?
  • Are the 150 photos and videos I just took gone forever?
  • Should I fly home and call it quits?

I kept replaying it over and over in my mind.
And, it seems so obvious now. 

I was prepared for thieves on the street, but not a guy on a motorbike.
That was some next level ninja shit. 

I finished lunch and was rushing back to the hostel to FaceTime a girlfriend.
Her bf got creepy with me on Instagram and had to deliver the shitty news.

So, I left the restaurant on a mission to get there as quickly as possible.
My phone in the left hand.
And, my leftovers in the right.

I had Google Maps fired up and ready to go.
Because, I didn’t want to miss this lil jaunt up ahead.

I approached a busy street corner, and stepped off the curb in preparation to cross.
All of a sudden, two lanes of traffic start turning directly in front of me.
I took a couple steps back.
A guy on a motorbike is in the lane closest to me.
He sees me, quickly changes his path, and starts veering straight towards me. 

My naive, innocent ass thought nothing of it.
I assumed he wanted to park next to where I was standing.
Little did I know I just became the guy’s target.

He saw an opportunity [aka stupid gringa], and he took it.
And, swiftly.
Didn’t lay a single finger on me.
Deep down, I was actually impressed.
His multi-tasking and precision skills were on point.

Strangely enough, I didn’t feel unsafe.
Weird, huh?

He didn’t care one iota about me.
He wanted the phone and only the phone.

I was caught off guard, because I inherently believe people are good, not bad.
Lying and stealing are foreign to me.
Plus, every Colombian I encountered up until this point was friendly, warm, and welcoming.

Speaking of good people…
A cab driver witnessed it and took off after him.

My mind immediately shifts to FindMyiPhone.
Maybe I can track him down if he hasn’t powered it off yet.
And, I had my laptop in my backpack.
I started hunting for a restaurant that might have WiFi. 

As I’m walking aimlessly, a gentleman stops me, wants to help, but doesn’t speak English.
I appreciated his concern, but it didn’t matter if we couldn’t communicate.
And, time was of the essence.

Mid-conversation, the taxi cab driver rolls up.
No dice.
He lost the motorbike.
But, I was super grateful for him trying.

Both guys tell me the police station is a couple blocks away.
I knew going wouldn’t do any good, but I was at a complete loss.

Getting back to my hostel just got exponentially harder.
I had no idea how to get there without Google Maps.
The Uber app was safely installed on my stolen phone.
And, trying to tell the taxi driver how to get there without a map seemed daunting. 

So, the sweet taxi driver offered to drive me to the police station for free.

The police station was poppin off.
So, I had to wait in the lobby.
I tried to sneak onto the WiFi but it was pointless.

After 15 minutes, Officer Dave grabs me and takes me back.
Inconsolable and still ugly crying.
And, I’m not a “cryer”.
I couldn’t get a grip on my emotions.

After immense effort and struggling with Google Translate…
He confirms what I already suspected.
There’s zero likelihood I’d see my phone again.

My main objective was connecting to the WiFi.
But, I couldn’t get it to work on my laptop.
So, I moved to the desktop computer in the office. 

One problem….the keyboard is completely different!
Trying to type my crazy iCloud password with special characters was comical.
A single key had three different characters on it.
It was virtually impossible to guess the right sequence of keys to hold down.
But, somehow I managed to find the “^” after multiple attempts, hit Enter…
And, the screen reads, “Your Apple ID or password was incorrect”.

Come on!
There’s no way I’d guess the key combo for the special characters again.

Thankfully, he let me tether my laptop to his phone.
Using his personal plan.
I finally logged into iCloud ~40 minutes after the motorbike sped off.
And, the phone was “offline”.
Another shocker!
I was strangely relieved, because the phone was unlocked when he grabbed it.
At least it was locked and off now.

I logged into Instagram to message my boyfriend.
As I’m telling him what happened everything stops working.
Officer Dave’s cell phone dies.
What are the odds?

I gave up and wanted to get back to the hostel asap.
Officer Dave gave me his contact info as a nice gesture.
And, graciously offered to give me a ride free of charge.

After twiddling my thumbs for approximately twenty minutes, my gratitude was no longer plentiful.
All I wanted to do was start sorting this out, but I was at the mercy of others.

I was about to hop in a cab when the cop van pulled up with two officers in it.
Neither of the officers said a word to me, but they delivered me to my hostel in one piece.

I immediately FaceTimed my boyfriend to tell him my sob story.
He was thankful I was alright and assured me everything would be okay.
When he was traveling around the world he had a credit card and camera stolen.

Although this totally sucked, he was glad I got it over with.
Because, theft is inevitable when traveling.
I wasn’t as optimistic about it as he was.

The main disappointment was losing all the footage from my hike to Monserrate.
I took approximately 150 photos and videos of cute dogs, chickens, roosters, flowers, a blind man, an older woman carrying heavy bags, the church at the top, and expansive views of the city.

The blind man blew me away.
His determination was inspiring, because the hike was no joke.
Basically, it’s a giant stair stepper at 10,000 feet elevation.
And, he didn’t even get to take in the reward at the top.
My first world problems felt so insignificant.

None of these new memories had time to upload to iCloud.
Unfortunately, my iPhone is my only travel camera.
And, if I couldn’t document my experience, I didn’t have any business staying in Colombia.

I’d gladly hand over my phone just to have the footage back.
But, that was never going to happen. 

Stupidly, I left a message in Spanish on my phone saying I’d pay for my phone back.
But, after more thought I determined it wasn’t smart or safe. 

What if I brought the police with me?
More importantly, what if they took my money and forcefully kept the phone anyway?
The stolen iPhone was gone, and I needed to accept it.

I pulled on my big girl pants, started problem solving…
And, figured out how to make myself whole again.
I was determined not to let this get me down or change my perspective of Colombia.
So, that’s how I got my iPhone stolen in Bogota Colombia.

Check out exactly how the heist went down as I return to the scene of the crime below.
To get a full laundry list of lessons learned, read this blog post here.

Question time! Have you ever had anything stolen from you?
If so, what was it, how did it go down, + what steps did you take to get through it?
Comment your answers below. I’ll be reading!

Comments (2)

I can identify. My phone was stolen in a similar way. The motor driver had a passenger to grab it for him. In a moment of lack of thought I took it out to deliver some bad news, and right as I hit ‘sent’, it was swiped from my hands. No crying though.

Hey Dennis. Sorry for the super late reply, but thanks for sharing your story. That’s crazy! They’re so freaking fast! If you don’t mind me asking, where were you? And, was it relatively easy to get a replacement?

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