Sarah Maguire, 26, across the street from the house in West Covina, Calif. — 30 miles from her home in Los Angeles — where the Find My iPhone app led her after she realized her phone had been taken. Ms. Maguire confronted the thief and got her phone back.  Photo Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

If a stranger stole your iPhone, and you knew where to find them, would you track them down, or call the police?

The article below touches on the outcomes and potential consequences of doing the former. I have been lucky with my three iPhones. None of been stolen, or lost. But, I have know people who have experienced theft, with no clue where it went. No insurance. No recourse, and a lot of angst left behind with  unsynced data, and security holes.

Things have improved on that front with the technology of GPS tracing, that allows iPhone owners to often recover their phones, preferably with police help. Here’s more from the New York Times. >>

When Hitting ‘Find My iPhone’ Takes You to a Thief’s Doorstep

By Ian Lovett

WEST COVINA, Calif. — After a boozy Saturday night, Sarah Maguire awoke the next morning to find that her iPhone was gone. Her roommate’s phone was gone, too. Were they at the bar, she wondered, or in the cab?

Using the Find My iPhone app on her computer, she found that someone had taken the phones to a home in this Los Angeles exurb, 30 miles east of her West Hollywood apartment.

 So Ms. Maguire, a slight, 26-year-old yoga instructor, did what a growing number of phone theft victims have done: She went to confront the thieves — and, to her surprise, got the phones back.

“When I told my mom what I did, she thought I was crazy,” Ms. Maguire said.

 With smartphone theft rampant, apps like Find My iPhone offer a new option for those desperate to recover their devices, allowing victims like Ms. Maguire to act when the police will not. But the emergence of this kind of do-it-yourself justice — an unintended result of the proliferation of GPS tracking apps — has stirred worries among law enforcement officials that people are putting themselves in danger, taking disproportionate risks for the sake of an easily replaced item.

Full Article >>