Robbed at Starbucks

How it happened:

Last Saturday I decided to stop by the Starbucks near my house. I sat down around 5 o’clock with a tall Pike-roast coffee and my computer. I plugged my headphones into my phone, began listening to Rdio, placed my phone on the table and started to write.

About an hour passed as I wrote, and then I heard the lady beside me scream, “HEY!” I instinctively looked at her and a second later felt my earbuds jerk against my ears. I turned towards the door as 3 tall teenagers ran out, our phones in hand. I rushed after the thieves and reached their car just as it sped out of the parking lot.

Starbucks’ security cameras captured video of the incident inside the store, and I was able to memorize the license plate. The Starbucks employees, my fellow customers, the area security guard and the Houston police were very kind. They were all as helpful as possible.

Hopefully the thieves will be caught, but no matter what happens, I want to turn this frustrating situation into a learning experience.

What I’ve learned:

ONE| Find My iPhone and Android Device Manager are handy tools for a lost phone, but the average thief knows how to render them useless.

When enabled, Find My iPhone and Android Device Manger allow you to visit their websites from anywhere, log in and see the location of your device(s) on a map. You can also make your phone/tablet ring to help you find it, and if you think someone is gaining access to your private data, you can remotely wipe your device clean.

I’ve used this service several times to successfully find my phone, but it was unhelpful last Saturday. Within minutes, I’d logged in and tried to track my phone to no avail. The thieves knew enough to turn off the phone and pull out the SIM. Unless the phone has Internet access, there is no way for it to be tracked.

If you’re interested in additional tracking for your phone or other valuables, you should look into Tile. It’s not a perfect solution, but it might be helpful.

TWO| Leaving things on the table while going to the bathroom is an unnecessary risk.

We all do it sometimes. It seems so much easier, and we don’t want to lose our table. As I learned Saturday, filing police reports, changing passwords and spending money on replacements is a lot more work than bringing my bag into the restroom. If people are willing grab my phone off the table in front of me, they won’t hesitate to snatch a computer when some stranger is “watching your stuff”.

THREE| Even difficult situations can be used for good.

I’ve been going to this Starbucks for 9 months now. Several of the baristas know my name, but we’ve never had truly personal conversations until this week. We start talking about being robbed, but our conversation continue into other topics. I pray that God will continue to deepen these relationships, and open doors for friendship and gospel conversations.

PersonalTimothy Buck