Welcome to the StolenSidekick Page:
This original updates page has
been replaced with this abridged version.
If you want to see the original, the link is located below. Be forewarned, I have been told it
sometimes takes up to 3 hours to read the entire thing (since most of my views
come from people at work, I am afraid to think of all the hours corporations
have lost because of this site).
The back story:
On May 31st, my friend Ivanna left her T-Mobile Sidekick II in a taxi cab in
As soon as she realized that she had left it in the taxi, she contacted me and asked me to try and contact who ever found the phone. She couldn’t do it herself as she was getting her dress fitted that day. I proceeded to call the phone. I also sent text messages and emails to the Sidekick with the subject and body “--==REWARD IF FOUND==--“. After 1-2 days of constant attempts of contacting the person(s) who found the phone, we gave up and decided to buy a new one. Unfortunately,
When she activated her new Sidekick, Ivanna realized that the person who found the phone had been using it. Not only had the person emailed Ivanna’s private pictures to herself and friends, but she had also taken pics of herself, family and friends, used the phone, sent emails of the pics she had taken, and signed on to AOL. We could see all this because the Sidekick works differently than most phones. While on a average phone any activity and content stays on the actual phone, on the Sidekick EVERYTHING gets automatically uploaded to T-Mobile servers which is accessible on the internet. That means any pictures you take, and emails you send/receive, any notes you take, etc can be access from the internet. When you replace the phone, T-Mobile downloads all the content to the new Sidekick from the old Sidekick. We hadn’t seen the content that the person had put on the found phone as Ivanna had not ever signed up for the T-Mobile web access. Once the phone was lost, it was too late to register as T-Mobile sends your sign in info to the phone, creating a catch 22 if you don’t have the phone on you.
One thing we immediately noticed was that the person who had found the phone had deleted all the reward text messages and emails. On top of that, the person had started using the Sidekick sending herself emails 2-3 hours after my friend had left it in the taxi. So, all in all, we could determine that this person had purposely ignored the requests of the rightful owner. Ivanna gave me the person’s AOL screen name and I waited for them to sign on. Since the email address and the AOL name matched, I knew that her name was Sasha.
When she signed on, I sent her an instant message informing her that she had our phone and requested it back. I was rebuffed with cursing, racist comments, and illiterate sentences. She claimed that her friend found the phone and that she was keeping it. I asked if it was the overweight person in the pictures we had obtained from the phone. He then got on the IM and started again with the racist comments as well as violence. He told me to come to an address in Corona Queens because he “got ball” and he’d give me the Sidekick so he could hit me “wit it”. I informed them that I had all their pics, their email/screen name and would post this online. They informed me that they had the “white little biyotch” info who owned the phone and would post that online too.
I informed my friend of this conversation and was upset as me about this. We couldn’t understand how someone would not return something that doesn’t belong to them. I have lived in
The online story:
On June 6th, I posted the story of what happened as well as Sasha’s email address and the pics she had taken of her mother, the overweight friend, and herself. I decided not to post the picture of a baby and her little brother. All this info went on a page in the subdirectory of my personal website. My website previously had only been visited by my friends never receiving more than 1,000 hits a month. I then posted the link to the “Stolen Sidekick Page” on a forum I was a member of, as well as IM’d it to a couple of friends. After a couple hours I started receiving a large amount of email to a new address I had created just for this story. One of them had Sasha’s Myspace account address. I then posted the page on Digg.com. Soon, it went to the front page of Digg, becoming the highest “dugg” story for the week. By the time I went to sleep that night, the page had received almost 50,000 unique visits.
By June 7th, it had gotten 500,000. I received more and more emails from visitors including an NYPD officer who told me I should go to the police to have them handle this matter. I then received an email from Sasha’s brother who informed me that his sister had bought the phone from a taxi driver, that she would not return this phone, and that he was military police and I would have to deal with him if I didn’t take down the page. When I posted this info, I received emails from people in the military as well as veterans who were shocked at this kind of behavior from a fellow serviceman. People discovered his name, Luis, and his Myspace page as well as the overweight fellow’s name, Gordo, and his Myspace page as well.
By the next day, I was getting millions of visitors. There were hundreds of thousands of website pointing to mine according to Google. I was also getting 3,000 emails a day. This kind of response was amazing. People who lived in
Also in the emails was multiple request from news outlets such as radio, newspaper, and TV. Most of the interviews were on the phone, with some news outlets (such as the New York Times) saying that they would need to confirm the story before printing. I looked forward to this as I had started receiving emails from viewers who felt that this page was either a false story or that I was a viral ad for T-Mobile.
By June 9th, I was receiving millions upon millions of hits. The brother had emailed me again repeating his story that his sister had bought the phone from a taxi driver and would not return it because then she would be out the money. I returned the email saying that this story made no sense as she had already said she got the phone from her friend, as well as the fact that we had offered her a reward and would have happily replaced any money she had spent. Besides this, the legal tenet of “Caveat Emptor” comes into play. It translates into “Let the buyer beware”. Basically this means that no matter how you buy an item, you are legally responsible for the authenticity for the purchase. Sasha had also responded to the attention by stating on her Myspace page that she didn’t have the phone.
I decided to bring up a forum so I could try and answer questions in a larger scale, rather than just answer 1 by 1 as I was in the emails. I had received multiple offers of forums to use, so I picked one with good resources. As soon as I put up the link, I checked the stats of the forum. After 30 seconds we had over 100 visitors. By 1 minute, we had 300 visitors and 10 members. By 5 minutes, we had 10 posts, over 100 members, and over a 1,000 visitors. After that, the server crashed from the usage. By this time I was on the front page of 400,000 websites, had been “Slashdotted”, and was at almost 4,000 emails a day. I had emails from all over the world. Even a band had written a song about the incident. I tried to put up another board on Google Groups, and after an hour, had Google put a restriction on posts due to over usage. After multiple disastrous attempts at putting up a forum (including bringing down an ISP from traffic), we were at last successful.
I started noticing as much as there were positive feedback on what I was doing, there was also a lot of negative comments from nay sayers declaring that the site was false. Also, that I was either doing the wrong thing, had the wrong girl, or remarked about her age. I responded decaring the authenticity of the page, that I had enough facts to know I had the right girl, and that regardless of her age, she should know better than to keep someone else’s property, as well as the adults around her helping her keep the ill gotten Sidekick. I had put up a paragraph on the website pleading wirh her and her family to do the right thing and return the Sidekick. I promised to take down the website if it was returned. I never received a response to this,
We finally went to the police station and asked to submit a stolen property report. Without our knowledge, the officer only filled out a lost item report. The difference is that no actions would be done with this report. A lost item report is mostly for insurance claims (which we didn’t have). After numerous failed attempts to contact the police station, I was finally able to get the report number. When I posted this info online, I was informed of the mistake by a anonymous NYPD officer who had read my site. We met up and he gave me the correct paperwork to fill out and told me that he and his fellow officers agreed with the situation. So we had to arrange to go again to the police station.
In the mean time, the traffic to my website was insane. I was uploading upwords of 200 GB a day. This from a page that was about 100 KB. I was bleeding money from the page. I had promised from the beginning that this site was not an attempt to make money, but to do what was morally right. In this regard, I had not put up any ads or paid links. I had been offered thousands of dollars to put up as little as one link on the site. If I had put up an ad, I would have made even more from the millions of hits I was getting. All this was not something I could live with. But after losing money from the bandwidth, I decided to put up a Paypal donation link asking only people who could afford it to donate if they wished to help out. Within a couple hours, I received about $1,000. Due to some of the negative emails I took down the link. As well as receiving enough at the time to cover this bandwidth expense, I wanted to try and remain favorable in the general publics views. Still, though, I was blasted as a fake money making site. The fact that I had no proof that the police were doing anything was enough to confirm these people’s views.
After a couple days, my friend and I returned to the police station. We were told to leave with the “tails between our legs”. When we refused, I was detained for having the paperwork the anonymous officer had supplied me with. After much arguing, I was told that the law of “finder’s keepers, losers weeper’s” was in effect. We were allowed to leave, and I posted this info online. My readers immediately started a campaign to convince the NYPD to do what was right.
Gordo then emailed me saying that Sasha’s mother had bought the phone on the subway for $100, and would return it to me for that amount. This made even less sense. First they kept changing their story on how they got it. This version was great. I mean, who buys a phone from a stanger on the subway for $100? The time of a reward was over. It would have been for doing the right thing. Holding the phone for ransom was not going to happen. I was then contacted by a few sources that the family was proceeding with a harassment lawsuit against me. This seemed far fetched as I had not been contacted with a cease and desist letter as well as all the info I had posted being in the public domain. I was contacted by numerous lawyers stating that I was in the clear. Still, there was an alleged law firm trying to make a name for themselves by posting in my forum that I was in the wrong. All this made for some sleepless nights.
Meanwhile Ivanna’s wedding was getting closer and closer and since she had not been able to contact the embassy in time, her sister’s visa was denied. I tried a last minute gamble and requested that from readers who wanted to help, to please email the embassy for us. This resulted in me being cc’d in hundreds of emails to the embassy with people requesting that the sister be allowed in the country. Unfortunately, even though we were in contact with 2 members of Congress who had viewed the site, it was too late for the visa to be made.
The police finally contacted Ivanna after all the public attention and the pressure from the New York Times. They refused to talk to me, so she supplied them with all the information about Sasha we had gathered. A couple days later, I was awoken to people calling me saying that my picture and story was on the front page of the Metro Section of the New York Times as well as being on the radio news reports around the world. On top of that, it made multiple TV nightly news reports as well as on MSNBC. It turned out that over the weekend, the police had arrested Sasha and gotten the Sidekick back for us.
As Ivanna had already bought a new Sidekick, there was no need for an additional one. We decided to sell the Sidekick on Ebay. 1/3 of the total to her, 1/3 to me, and 1/3 to a charity for helping single mothers and children. I also contacted T-Mobile and they generously offered to donate the total amount of the winning bid, up to $5,000. I would cover the taxes as well as the cost of the auction out of my own percentage. I had never sold anything on Ebay, and put up a auction for the Sidekick, without the proper paperwork for the charity. After over 10,000 views in less than a day and over $1,000 bid, Ebay removed the auction because of the lacking paperwork. About a day later, I reposted a new auction with all the correct paperwork. This time, the response was a bit slower. After 7 days though, there were over 40,000 views and the winning bid came out to $3,600.
Unfortunately, the winning bidder turned out to be fake. This is particularly in poor taste as for costing the charity needed money. Any attempts to contact the remaining bidders with “second chance offers” was blocked by Ebay because my account was new. They also blocked numerous viewers from my site from contacting them. This was particularly puzzling as multiple spammers were successful in contacting the bidders offering them fake Sidekicks allegedly from my site, as well as fake “second chance offers”.
What is happening now:
Update #70 July 30, 2006 3:00 p.m. I have attempted to send the second chance offer to multiple lower bidders, but as they are never informed via email, they see the auction on their “My Ebay” page too late to respond. As the “15 minutes” of attention this site has received is over, I will not post another auction. I am still offering the Sidekick up for sale privately. Contact me at the email address below if interested. I will honor the same percentage to Ivanna and the charity as promised in the auction.
I have no further news at the moment on what is Sasha’s status. Ivanna is in
As for what I am planning to do with this website, I have decided to leave this page up. I will also leave a link below to the original page. I have blacked out Sasha and the other pics, as I feel that justice has been served. I hope that she has learned to do the right thing from now on if not for her sake, then her baby’s sake as well.
Update #71 January 10th, 2007 11:00 a.m. Wow... It's been a long time since my last update. Yet, I still am getting 20-50 mails STILL a day from people asking me for updates, what I’ve done with the Sidekick, what's happened to Sasha, what am I doing now... Well...
My friend Ivanna is happily married. We recently filmed a segment on 20/20 about the whole internet experience. It should air Feb. 9th. (I will keep you updated). We have no idea what happened to Sasha... We never pressed charges. We were satisfied getting the Sidekick back and felt that enough attention had been brought to her, and hopefully she has learned her lesson. And the Sidekick.... We gave up on the Ebay auction (I will never use Ebay again) and offered it directly over this site. In the end, we raised over $2.000 for charity. I will post a copy of the paperwork when I get it. And no, we didn't take any percentage off for ourselves.
As for me.. Will I ever do something like this?? HELL NO! This took up way too much of my time, too many expenses, too much harassment. I have been hired by a sapphire company... http://www.TheNaturalSapphireCompany.com doing SEO and PR work fulltime. I do things like sending out press releases... such as us obtaining the
Update #72 February 9th, 2007 3:00 p.m. BIG NEWS. So, tonight ABC will air Ivanna and my interview on 20/20 (the show starts at 9 p.m.). I'm very excited and hope you can view it. As for those finding out about this site for the first time... Where have you been????
On another note, I finally got the paperwork from the charity. I again want to thank the private donor and T-Mobile for being so generous. http://www.EvanWasHere.com/StolenSidekick/Charity.pdf .
http://www.evanwashere.com/stolensidekick/original/ Original Page
My Email Stolensidekick@gmail.com My email
Some Media Attention and other PDF’s:
International Herald Tribune:
The MSNBC Video:
The 1010 Wins Radio story:
Wikipedia: (note: Wikipedia admins have recently taken down the
page my readers have put up stating it wasn’t news worthy. This is while they do keep up the “dog
poop girl” from
The 2nd Ebay auction: