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article imageWatch dramatic fight break out over stolen iPhone

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jan 10, 2013 in Crime
Kenneth Schmidgall, 26, lost his iPhone at a reggae concert on December 28. With the assistance of his friend and roommate Greg Torkelson, a freelance photographer, he used the "Find My iPhone" app to track down the device.
Schmidgall explains that he lost the phone at the concert when he went to "put some stuff in Greg's car." He said: "I think I set the phone on the sidewalk and it was taken." According to, after he lost the phone he kept calling it but no one answered.
He and his friend then tried to use the app called "Find My iPhone" to track down the missing device. Schmidgall told The Huffington Post: "I wasn't looking for a confrontation. I just wanted the phone back."
MSN Now reports that during a slow drive through San Diego, they spotted a man on a bike whose movements appeared to match the green dot on the app's screen.
The app led the two amateur detectives to the man riding along on a bicycle near Torrey Pines State Beach. The suspect was about 5 feet 10 inches, 180 pounds and "probably in his 30s." Schmidgall said: "I saw it (the green dot on the app screen) stationary at a bike shop in Encinitas, but then it started moving around, and I got the idea that whoever had it was trying to sell it near the beach."
Schmidgall told KGTV-TV: "I saw the gentleman on the bike and we followed it and kept tracking it and every time it would stop, the guy on the bike would stop."
According to The Huffington Post, Schmidgall confronted the man after they had called the police. The confrontation turned very dramatic.
Schmidgall's partner Torkelson, captured the encounter between iPhone owner and suspected thief on his camera. Torkelson also had a pepper spray. He said: "If I'm responding to a crime scene before the police are there, I have it on hand."
The encounter between the unidentified suspect and Schmidgall lasted 18 minutes. It got violent when the alleged thief hit Schmidgall with a rock in his hand. He said: "I got a cut on the lip and a few scratches, but it wasn't a technical punch. He just shoved his hand in my face."
During the struggle Torkelson pepper-sprayed the alleged thief but "he kept going even after he was sprayed."
Schmidgall finally managed to hold the alleged thief down on the sand. The suspect said: "Do you want your cellphone?" He pulled the cellphone out of his pocket and it appeared he was going to toss it into the ocean.
An off-duty police officer finally intervened and helped to hold the man down until the police arrived. The suspect was taken into police custody and Schmidgall got his phone back.
He commented: "I don't think people should [get] in fights because of their cellphones, but … you have to stand up for yourself." He added: "I had to wait until I was home to unlock it. The battery was almost dead. I'm surprised the guy didn't ditch it."
The video shows Schmidgall in a fight with the suspect. reports Torkelson said: "We just wanted the phone back. Some of it was a little bit of adrenaline… you know, it was the chase of trying to get the guy."
But was an iPhone worth the trouble of such a violent confrontation? Schmidgall told 10News: "It's not the phone that's so much important. It's that people get away with this kind of stuff all the time with cellphones being stolen."
He said, "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."
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