Theft Ain’t So Easy Anymore; My iPad’s Incredible Adventure

Theft Ain’t So Easy Anymore; My iPad’s Incredible Adventure

Over the years, I have been an early adapter of technology.  In 7th grade (1978), I won 2nd place in the Manatee County Science Fair for a program I wrote on a Commodore 64 that allowed one to take a quiz on the Solar System.  I had the first MAC in 1984 when I went off to Cornell University as a Freshman.  It was very cool, except when it made that unhappy MAC face (often).

JSW Mac at Cornell

Fast forward a few years in business (and a budget) and I always had the latest devices in laptops and phones and crossover gadgets almost every year since 1992.   From my cool Radio Shack phone (big and rectangular) while still at Vanderbilt for business school in 1993 to the dark grey Motorola Flip to the StarTac (almost $1k when it came out).  Since I had companies I ran outright or for which I oversaw the technology side of things, I had an obligation (it was part of the job) to test out the new devices.  After a long and loyal run on Blackberry’s (I had the original pager shaped device and almost every one since, until 2011), my current device set looks like a commercial for Apple.  It includes an iPhone 5, a PowerBook Pro and an iPad mini.

220px-Mobile_phone_evolution

Over the years, I have broken, lost or had stolen (from me) my fair share of these.   Invariably once missing, always missing with a couple of exceptions of cell phones returning to me from taxis in Chicago and New York and a laptop coming back from the back of a plane seat.   But it was not until this summer that I experienced a fundamentally different experience in attempting to retrieve a missing device. 

 

This story is about my iPad mini’s theft and return.

 

In July we went out to Denver to visit family in the mountains.  After a couple of days up at Grand Lake, CO (amazing lake at 8,000 ft surrounded by mountains at the back side of the Rocky Mountain National Park), we enjoyed an evening of friends and music while Anitra performed with her old band mate Ryan Tracy. 

 

2013-07-25 19.45.27  2013-07-27 18.59.18

 

Sunday morning we had early flights out of Denver International Airport with kids flying in different directions and us heading back out to Napa, CA.   In our hectic exit, my iPad mini (I love it, but it is a “mini”) was inadvertently left wedged between the front passenger seat and the console of our Avis rented Tahoe.  I realized this during my Southwest flight back to Sacramento.   We immediately called Avis lost and found (I have had some success in having things returned if you realize it quickly enough).  In the past insisting on having the rental company re-check a vehicle several times has been required.  I did so this time to no avail.  They said it was not there.  I was 99% positive it was.

avis-logo

That evening after I hosted a beer tasting at our brewery Napa Smith Brewery, I went online and reported my iPad stolen on the very user friendly Denver Police website (which was quite user friendly). The next morning, I turned on the “Find my iPhone” and searched for it using Apple’s iCloud service.  Sure enough, it found it, but it was in an area of Denver that we had not been.  I screen captured the image of the location and sent that on to the Denver Police.

findmyiphone

Note: I password protect all my devices.  While I’m sure a sophisticated criminal technology ring could crack the 4 digit code, I felt I had a little time to keep searching.  The alternative is to “wipe” the device.  This protects all your personal information, but prevents one from tracking the device ever again.  I choose to keep it intact to try to retrieve it.

 

Smoke's missing ipad in Denver

 

At this point my working theory was either Avis re-rented the vehicle and the iPad was in it OR it was stolen by someone at Avis, who had then either taken it home or handed it off to someone else.  I received a call from Denver Police detective Gomez who asked me to send her directly the picture of the location.  She told me she would call me when she got there and I planned on “pinging” it.  iCloud allows one to cause a device to make a sound, very useful in finding a missing one or stolen one.    When the detectives arrived on the site, they called and I began pinging the iPad.  They went door to door.  The find your iPhone is amazing, but it is not easy tell EXACTLY where it is, only within a very small area

Nothing.  The detectives even went into a couple of apartments (with permission).  They told me it appeared to be a retirement home of some kind and they did not think it was there.  I was confident it was on site given the images.  They told me to let them know if it moved or I had any new information and left the site.  Frustrated but with little recourse, I kept checking the site.

Sure enough shortly after the police left the scene, the iPad was on the move.  I tracked it and kept pinging it, hoping that whoever was driving would hear it and either fear they were being tracked or look at it and call my mobile number, which was prominently displayed on the front screen.  For a while it was at what appeared to be a junkyard. My working theory at this point was the perpetrator got scared and tossed it .  However, this theory was dispelled when it went on the move again, eventually returning to roughly the same spot where the police had been earlier.

smokes ipad on the move 2.37mt  smoke ipad new location - by junk yard

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning while my Peet’s coffee was brewing, I checked the Find my iPhone site.  Lo and behold it was on the move.  I kept refreshing it and it was clearly on the way back out toward the airport.  Sure enough, it pulled into the Avis lot.  We immediately called Avis again and told them and sent them a picture of where it was.  Remember, these pictures are a current location overlaying a satellite image that was taken some time ago.  So while you can look at cars and other things on the ground in the image, these are from a different moment in time.  Interesting.

Smoke's ipad route from the old aged home area back to the Avis lot at Denver Airport

Now my working theory was maybe the Tahoe was re-rented and it is now just returned.  Or the perpetrator panicked from the police visit was trying to bring it back. Or it never left the perpetrators car and was simply in it as they returned to work after 2 days at home.  They reported to work at 8am.

 

The image I sent Avis appeared to be in the employee parking lot.

Smoke's ipad current location is at Avis

Our Avis representative Yolanda went out to the area and began searching with some of her colleagues.  3 times they went out looking to no avail.

 

Then all of a sudden the iPad appeared to enter the Avis building.  We called Yolanda and told her it was on the move.  Quickly it moved back out into the parking lot into another area.  My theory at this point was the perpetrator knew there was a search going on, had retrieved the device and was moving around with it.  One possibility was they were part of the search group.  It felt like the Kevin Costner movie, “No Way Out” in which he was the spy but part of the search party looking for the spy.  Crazy.  Frustrating.   I was determined to get to the bottom of this.  Sitting in Napa, CA, watching my iPad move around Avis at the Denver airport – was simply amazing.

 

After a short while, Yolanda called back and gave us the good news that they found the iPad mini.  Relieved, and now more curious than anything, I wanted to know the answer to what happened and who did it.  Yolanda told us it was in a rental truck, but NOT our Tahoe.  My working theory at this point is someone took it, realized it was being tracked (police visits and pings), brought it back when they had to return to work, realized there was a search going on and planted it in a similar rental where Avis found it.  I reported all this to Detective Gomez at DPD.  I believe it’s not too difficult for Avis to figure out who worked on Sunday July 28, had off on the 29th and 30th, and then reported to work on the 31st at 8am.  This person likely lives at or right around the location of the iPad where we had the police search.

I am still curious as to the final outcome.  I’m sure Avis has every reason to find out who did it.

IMG_1787 smoke's ipad

I want to compliment the GREAT service I received at Avis, especially Yolanda.  My expectations were exceeded greatly with the excellent customer service from the Denver Police Department, especially Detective Gomez.  Both were terrific and it was appreciated.  This service from Apple is AWESOME!  I was so glad I had a fully charged iPad so we had the time it took to track it down and get it back.

 

With all the disturbing revelations regarding the NSA tracking, the targeted drone strikes and other technology enabled activities governments are now able to do, at least in this regard, the technology was put to great use!

 

While I can think of some enhancements to make this even easier, perhaps, make the iPad talk to the perpetrator – warning them that “I belong to Smoke, he is looking for me and will find me soon”, current level of function was sufficient to have a positive outcome.

 

It sure ain’t so easy anymore if crime was your chosen field…

Napa Smith Brewery – Continues to Gain Momentum – Wins Silver @GABF, Opens Tasting Room, Expands to 33 States

Napa Smith Brewery – Continues to Gain Momentum – Wins Silver @GABF, Opens Tasting Room, Expands to 33 States

I have not posted about Napa Smith lately so here is a bit of catch up.. We acquired the brewery & winery in December 2010 so it has been under our control since January… 10+ months.. we spent the first 3 getting production back up and running and taking care of vendors.  Since then, we have been brewing to capacity and selling everything we make.  Steve Morgan, Don Barkley and the rest of the growing Napa Smith team have been hitting on all cylinders as we have ramped up.  The Paddington team has taken the lead on sales and distribution.  The combination has been awesome!

Napa Smith Brewery

 

Napa Smith Team

Some highlights over the past year:

  1. Paddington Brands acquires Napa Smith brewery & winery December 2010
  2. Napa Smith Beer now available in 33states.  This is from a base of just CA back in 2009.  See map.
  3. GABF Winner – Napa Smith Organic IPA won the Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival this year… huge!  More on this below.
  4. Napa Smith “Brew Pub” tasting room opened in Napa, CA… an awesome experience and long overdue for our home market!
  5. Numerous beer dinners and tasting and events throughout the year.
  6. Major retailer support with placements in Safeway, Whole Foods, Publix, HEB, Harris Teeter, Total Wine & More, BevMo, ABC, Cost Plus World Markets and many more….

 

Silver Medal Winner - Great American Beer Festival 201

      Don’s brewery team had a wonderful time in Denver at the GABF seeing old friends and trying so many terrific beers.

Don Barkley – Master Brewer – GABF Silver Winner – Napa Smith Organic IPA

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a short video of Don Barkley on Napa Smith Organic IPA

Don Barkley on Napa Smith Organic IPA

And here is a link to some of the pictures from the brew pub opening on facebook… Napa Smith Brew Pub Opening

Napa Smith Brew Pub Opening

 

Napa Smith Brew Pub - tasting menu

 

 

 

Napa Smith “Lost Dog” Red Ale blew out at the Brockway Pub in Carmel, Indiana just last weekend…

 

Smoke and Dave Hunter enjoying a Lost Dog at Brockway

Napa Smith "Lost Dog"

And an example of retail placements… Cost Plus World Market has Napa Smith on promotion in 130 stores right now.

Cost Plus World Markets Now has Napa Smith Beer

 

Napa Smith Lost Dog & Organic IPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WITS 2008 Announcement

Industry Leaders, Technology Experts to Gather at Fourth Annual
Wine Industry Technology Symposium on July 14-15, 2008
April 15, 2008, Napa, CA  – Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS)®, the premier event showcasing strategic use of information technology and services for the wine industry, will hold its fourth annual conference July 14-15, 2008 at the Marriot Napa Valley. www.wineindustrytechnologysymposium.com
Join executives from wineries, distributors and retailers at the only annual conference designed exclusively to foster education and debate around the application of technology solutions for the wine industry. Following the keynote general session, expert panels will discuss case studies and issues grouped into the following four tracks:

  • Track A: Executive & Technology Leadership
  • Track B: Consumer Direct
  • Track C: Trade Sales & Marketing
  • Track D: Vineyard & Winery Operations

“In this uncertain economic environment, it is vital to get it right when it comes to your route to market and the strategic and tactical use of enabling technology,” said J. Smoke Wallin, WITS Co-Chair.  “WITS is the only place where winery owners and GMs can sit side by side for a day of learning and discussion with CIOs and other technology leaders from the across the three tiers and the technology community,” he added.
The WITS Steering Committee, made up of technology and business leaders across the wine industry, is currently finalizing panel topics and speakers.  Past speakers have included the CIOs of FedEx Kinkos and 1800-Flowers, as well as experts from IBM, Oracle and Cornell University.

Sign up early in order to guarantee a spot at this year’s conference.  There are a limited number of spots available and last year’s event sold out quickly. For more information and to register, visit www.wineindustrytechnologysymposium.com. 

About The Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS)

The Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) was created in 2005 by a group of wine industry and technology professionals. The purpose of WITS is to address the unique information technology and services needs of the wine industry. WITS is dedicated to bringing the world’s leading wineries, distributors and retailers together with some of the world’s leading technology experts to foster learning and discussion. Panels of experts discuss specific examples and case studies involving winemaking, vineyard management, consumer direct marketing and sales, operations, financial management, trade sales and distribution. www.wineindustrytechnologysymposium.com

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Media Contact:
Lesley P. Berglund, WITS Co-Chair, 707-246-6827