Woman Recovers Stolen iPhone Alone as Toronto Police Fail to Help


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Scarborough dentist Sheryl Lipton accidentally forgot her iPhone in her car when going for a run and paid the price when thieves smashed her window and stole the phone. She called Toronto Police, spoke with a constable from the 33 Division for help but to no avail as they were “dismissive” of her situation.

But then remembered she had Find my iPhone enabled and managed to track down her stolen phone to the Shops at Don Mills, as she told the Toronto Sun:

“I went online and located my cellphone at the Shops at Don Mills,” she said. “I called police and told them the situation but they said that there was nothing that they could do. I explained the urgency of the situation, the location of the phone and I could meet them at the mall in 10 minutes.”

Lipton said there was no enthusiasm.

“I called police four times … they didn’t care.”

She knew she was all alone.

“I told them that I was going to confront the perpetrators myself and would like police backup,” she said. “I was told that they would not do anything and I had to follow their procedure.”

So alongside her daughter, the 57-year old went solo to recover her iPhone at the mall. She explains the situation below:

“As we approached the mall, the WiFi indicated the person or persons had left the mall and were now across the street,” she said. “The Find My iPhone app showed me exactly where the phone was, and there were three men in their 20s or 30s, some over six-feet tall, lurking in the lane way of an apartment building, shaking hands and one getting into a vehicle.”

Lipton sprinted across the street, approached the three men and demanded her phone back–only to have them swear at her and call her crazy. She demanded the phone back or she would call 911, and one of the group admitted the device was in their possession. One of the group told Lipton they had purchased the device for $80 earlier in the morning, which she responded it was stolen property and wanted it back.

Once she showed them she knew the passcode to unlock the phone, the men knew it was hers and gave the phone back. Lipton was upset the police did not prioritize her situation when she clearly knew the location of where her stolen iPhone was. Toronto Police Const. Victor Kwong says they are investigating what happened and says the 33 Division was “not aware of this”:

“It is very well possible she waited seven hours for such a call,” Kwong said. “Theft of property with no suspect on scene or suspect information is assigned a low priority which gets bumped by higher priority calls.”

Lipton says she was aware of the possible consequences but took the risk to recover her phone and hoped the police would have been there. Similar cases involving Find my iPhone and stolen phones had police support in Calgary and Victoria to successfully recover devices. Regardless, Lipton did it all by herself–now that’s one dentist with a pretty good bite.


  • gtasscarlo

    Toronto police have better things to do, such as have rogue cops use steroids. And murder and depicted bodies. They can’t be bothered with helping people find stolen property.

  • hank

    I can imagine the frustration. The chief should go ahead and investigate if indeed, at the time of call, there were higher priority incidents being looked at.

    I personally get irked on how cops remind citizens not to impose the law into their own hands (like comfronting theives). But when a citizen does and successfully catches/restrains one (not this case but in previous cases in Vancouver), they (the cops) commend the particular person for bravery, treat as hero and all. What? There’s something wrong in the picture. Lol!

  • Chrome262

    Toronto police has been pretty useless for years. They are the ones on TV asking the public to help, because they are “one phone call, from solving the case” basically they don’t have a clue. They need to get rid of their union, its given them so many benefits there is no incentive for them to do anything, and continues a low standard of training. Seriously, when is the last time you heard Toronto police solve any case, its always OPP or some other agency, with the help of Toronto.

  • Chrome262

    I agree, they won’t let you carry mace or pepper spray in this city, and yet they aren’t there to offer protection to young women at York University. Hell some of the gals carried bear repellent. If they are not going to be around to help, then let citizens protect themselves, a small stun gun even, probably can use it better then the police can lol. I have seen security guards provide more help then the cops do

  • SMHatTHIScheapASSdentist

    First of all, a dentist should be able to spend a few hundred dollars on a new iPhone with their high salaries. Second, who is dumb enough to steal a phone without restoring it and replacing the SIM card right away? The police have better things to do than worry about an iPhone being stolen.

  • hank

    I just noticed. That picture of the dentist in the car looked photoshopped. Her head like floating, like pasted. Lol!

  • rainbowcops

    you mad bro? teeeheee! let us leave it to the investigators and see if they have better things to do when it all happened. and if they do have, i hope they were doing it. as well, it is not the phone, it is what is in it that matters most. i can’t believe you missed that point. who is dumb not to restore and such? well obviously that’s who the dentist got it back from.

  • kkritsilas

    This doesn’t apply to the Toronto cops alone, so I am not criticizing just them. I would like to know when enforcing the law became optional for the cops? In this case, the cops couldn’t be bothered to recover stolen property. The OPP couldn’t be bothered to enforce a court injunction against the blockage of rail lines by the Natives. RCMP in High River broke into and took the personal property of the people in High River, Alberta during the June floods. What is going on? Why have the people leading these policing bodies not been fired right on the spot? What are the police for if not to enforce the laws? Why have the OPP not been brought up on contempt of court charges? Why haven’t the RCMP offices been brought up on looting charges? If we are a nation of laws, those laws need to be enforced, and not just when it is convenient for the cops to do so.


  • johnnygoodface

    Sorry lady: it was pretty stupid to confront 3 guys together… I mean don’t you care about your life more than the price of an iPhone???? Next time call me and I’ll gladly send you the money instead… And you were with your daugther too???? I can’t believe that!!!

  • gtasscarlo

    I agree it was stupid. But the police aren’t going to do anything. I would’ve recommend bringing someone to help incase. But the moral is you cant just let things just go. The law is useless, unless the cops phones are stolen; then the whole force assigns it as a priority.

  • gtasscarlo

    The law seems to only apply if its convenient to cops. The charter is seen as a annoyance when its brought up. But only is helpful when it benefits them.

  • Michael Hills

    I applaud your action. Sure it was dangerous, but you have options. and when you know what they look like. You have more options. Police discourage individual initiative because they assume a lack of control. The result is sheep (people) who get fleeced by scum who ride the system because they can. I’m sorry it was stolen, glad you got it back. Do the same next time, but get better backup, get training and know your options better. the cops want safe jobs, not risk. So do it for them, but let them know every time how they failed.

  • Ari

    You are right, we need to just be sheep and accept it. Not! Sorry Johnny, but freedom has a price and we are losing our freedoms right now because everyone is acting like scared sheep and trusting the “man” to look out for us.

    We need to start standing up for ourselves and helping others or we are going to be lost. We need to start standing up to the cowardly thieves and bullies.

    Stop depending on the state to solve all your problems. Have some guts.

  • Ari

    Who the heck raised you? Why are you such a chicken shit?

    Don’t let bullies get their way. Stand up for yourself and your communities.

  • Ari

    It seems like the cops forgot that their duty is supposed to protect and serve the public. They are civil servants so they should be there to help whenever possible because it is supposed to be their job.

    Get off your fat asses, put down that Tim Horton’s doughnut and coffee and do your jobs for crying out loud.

  • grantalias

    Police are not used to people being able to GPS track stolen merchandise. Your stereo or television don’t allow you to track them 😉 Like laws and politicians, technology moves faster than both. In 10 years, it will be the first thing police ask if you can track your stolen device for them.

  • YeahYeah

    If it’s what’s on the phone that matters, that’s why Apple offers iCloud so you won’t lose anything from your old phone. She could have wiped her old phone from her computer, as well if she was worried about someone looking at what’s on it. Plus her password was still on the phone so the people that took it wouldn’t be able to unlock it anyway.

  • SMHatTHIScheapASSdentist

    If it was me, I would have confronted the people that took the phone. I never said I wouldn’t have. I’m just saying that if she was so scared to confront the robbers that she needed police backup to go with her, avoid all the trouble all together and just buy a new phone. It seems like you have your own issues with bullies, yet you question who raised me and call me a chicken shit. Ok. Nice to know that you preach about sticking up to bullies, but practice bullying yourself. Get the fuck out of here.

  • MleB1

    Therein lies the problem with the various OSs ‘find my phone’ apps have. You have the technology to find your device, but law enforcement may not be interested in following through. And frankly, its foolish for the public to confront someone who has stolen it.

    If its a case of a stolen phone (or dropped out of a pocket in a cab/transit and someone is using it) use the app to message it, lock and wipe it. If its not a case of ‘lost and found’ and no one makes an effort to return it and contacting the police results in complete indifference, get names and badge numbers, go to your wireless provider with the police info and demand a new phone. Let them sort it out with the police as to why they aren’t making efforts to retrieve stolen property. Daresay a few highly-placed phone calls between CEOs and Police Chiefs might clear the attitude.

  • ward09

    The Toronto Police are very lucky she, or her daughter, wasn’t hurt during the confrontation. Public sentiment is turning against them, and a civilian hurt because of police inaction… not good PR. There are always cops around when something interesting is going on, like the 22 watching that kid get shot on the street car? I wonder how many “low-priority” cases could have been solved by 22 cops in one night?

  • TigerJohn

    Describe the perp as standing in a bus doorway outside the mall, suitable for target practice?

  • rainbowcops

    Not all iPhone users are knowledgeable of these iPhone life saving features. Same as not all people are still living with and living off their parents … oops! Got you! Lol! Get out of your parents and live independently for goodness sake. You are way too old. At your age, you should be the one looking after your parents’ needs! Grow up buddy! Look around, your friends have moved on.

  • Ajith Varikkolil

    Dont mess with Dentists

  • tetcg

    Yup Toronto police are useless.. They are either lazy or incompetent.. If you are a victim, they will just intimidate you.. Their favorite reason is, “it’s civil” meaning, they won’t be involved.. Even if its robbery, and vandalism. They would not even check that if some neighbors have CCTV to investigate..
    They are a big waste of tax payers money..

  • Jamie Rollins Rollins-Zacharia

    This lady needs to get a grip and stop leaching off of our essential public services. I take personal offence to types like these who think they are in the right, yet dangerous offenders are on the streets because our forces are too burdened by calls like this. Shame on her.

  • Jamie Rollins Rollins-Zacharia

    you have no idea what is “supposed to be their job” unless of course you are the one in charge down at headquarters. They should not be there to help whenever possible.. they are not boyscouts… They should be there to decipher which items require their limited time and resource and which items should be trashed as they are a waste of time

  • Jamie Rollins Rollins-Zacharia

    as it should be. Life isnt fair and when it comes to the police, it is not first come and first serve and it is definitely not fair. Which is great because turning away this time-wasting phone nut might actually have saved someones life or prevented a real criminal offence from occurring.

  • Jamie Rollins Rollins-Zacharia

    amen! it’s just a phone… an object that is easy to come by and easy to purchase. What this lady did was stupid and I should think the comments from those who support her would read a little different had her and her daughter been slaughtered

  • lola

    this is my dentist lmfaooooo she is very hot headed and stubborn.