On Monday night of this week I went swimming at a local school’s swimming pool and, as always, my beloved iPad Air came with me. I don’t go anywhere without it. Except this time I left the pool and drove home alone, minus my pad. Somehow I became distracted and left it sitting on the bleachers near the pool.
I returned an hour later, found the security guard who locks and unlocks the doors for swimmers, and had him let me in. I desperately hoped to find the iPad waiting for me, but the bleachers were empty. At the security guard’s suggestion I searched the parking lot and watched the road as I drove home, although I was 95% sure I hadn’t left the iPad on my car and it slid off (his idea). Three times the guy told me I’d probably left it on my car. (This may be a clue).
Losing this little machine is six hundred dollars down the drain. I figured I’d be sleeping in the chicken coop for at least a week, but luckily I have an understanding husband.
And a big THANK YOU to APPLE for making the new iPads password protected!
All night I prayed that the lifeguard, a high school student, noticed my iPad and took it home with her for safe keeping. The next morning I called the local park department, which sponsors swimming, and relayed my story. The woman I spoke with was not especially interested or caring, but did promise to tell her boss and have him contact the lifeguard after school. I paced the floor and stewed for a few hours, then called the park department again. The manager had not even been informed. When I mentioned the word POLICE, their attitude dramatically changed. A police case? Of course they were concerned—now. He promised to contact the school on my behalf.
On Tuesday I dropped by their office and learned the lifeguard said she hadn’t seen my iPad and knew nothing about it. The manager was not willing to contact the three other swimmers, nor would he give me their names. Dead end.
A Cozy Mystery
I realized this resembles a cozy mystery story. You know, a handful of guests attend a dinner party at a British manor house and we’re sure one of them committed the crime. Who kidnapped the iPad Air? I had five suspects:
- The lifeguard—an attractive blonde high school student who spent the entire evening doing her homework. She and the security guy were the last people to leave the pool.
- A woman swimmer I’ve seen at the pool for years. I know she trains for triathlons and seems like a nice person.
- The woman’s boyfriend—I’ve also seen him around for a long time.
- A new swimmer to the group—a guy in his 30s, very fit.
- The security guard—a scruffy looking fellow who kept trying to tell me I must’ve left the iPad on my car and it was probably lying in the road somewhere.
At first my husband and I were reluctant to involve the police. I might have left the iPad on my car while I unlocked the doors, although I didn’t think so. If that was true, then no crime was committed. And since I was careless with the iPad, I felt the theft was partly my fault. I hated to stir the waters and upset people at the high school and the park department.
Still . . . we believed a crime had been committed, and if someone managed to gain access to the machine they might get into our accounts, even though I’d quickly changed my passwords. If that happened, I would need a case number to back up my claim.
So, I went to the county sheriff’s office and filed a report. I expected indifference and cursory attention to my problem. After all, these folks deal with a meth epidemic, child abuse, domestic violence, traffic accidents, and more. I did not expect a stolen iPad to garner much attention–but I was pleasantly surprised. The deputy took my information in detail and promised to follow up at the school.
Within a couple of hours, I heard back from Andrew, the deputy. A woman emailed the school that her son found an iPad on the road while riding his bike. Andrew drove to her home, picked up the iPad, and brought it to our house that evening.
Yes, it was mine. The poor thing had been run over by cars and rained on. Even though the screen was shattered—it still worked! After being trampled and drenched, the iPad turned on, accepted my password, and let me
access apps. Well done, APPLE! This iPad is now a zombie machine with half the screen black, but at least it came home to me.
“So I guess you did leave it on your car,” Andrew concluded. I was embarrassed to hear that, but stubborn. I knew I hadn’t carried it out of the building, so I asked him where the machine was found. The location was two miles in the wrong direction. I never drove that way.
Evidently the thief panicked and tossed the iPad onto the highway, hoping no one would believe my story. A “nicer” thief might have left the iPad in a safe place instead of dumping it on the road. But I guess nice thief is an oxymoron.
With all this in mind, Andrew said he’d go back to the school and look at security tapes. He had me draw a map of the pool area and show him where I left the iPad. Now I’m waiting, but I suspect this is the end of the line for the case. We aren’t going to have fingerprinting, polygraph tests, and interrogations.
My chief suspect is now the security guard, with the lifeguard as a secondary suspect. They’re the only two people who knew I planned to follow up with the authorities, and both of them have a lot to lose if they’re caught.
I feel an odd connection to this person who took my iPad. He or she changed my life in a small way. I imagine that person thinking he’s probably safe, but still feeling edgy. Maybe he gets a rush from stealing. Maybe he has no conscience.
Even this minor crime caused ripples in our lives. According to psychologists, the most common problems affecting three quarters of victims are psychological issues, including fear, anxiety, nervousness, self-blame, anger, shame, and difficulty sleeping. For about 24 hours I had some of these symptoms, and they are not pleasant. Now I’m more philosophical—and even grateful.
I’m grateful a check came in that will allow me to get a replacement iPad. I’m grateful for the caring police officers who watch over us. I’m grateful for my kind, loving husband who doesn’t blame me for being careless. I’m grateful to be well educated and hold a job that allows perks like smart phones and iPads.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. And I plan to chain the new iPad to my body.