UPDATE: There’s a happy ending here. Disney bought Katy a new iPhone. Here’s Katy’s blog post about it.

  • A woman named Katy McCaffrey alleges that her iPhone was stolen on a Disney Cruise ship by a Disney employee named Nelson
  • The alleged iPhone thief accidentally started uploading photos to Katy’s iCloud account
  • Katy is sharing the photos on Facebook in an album titled “Stolen iPhone Adventures” where they have gained considerable attention online

Have you enabled iCloud yet on your iPhone? If not, this story might help convince you. A woman named Katy McCaffrey had her iPhone stolen while on the Disney ocean liner named Wonder. She reported the iPhone stolen to both her phone company and Disney. But neither company could help and she eventually gave up on retrieving it. Then a few weeks later, Katy’s lost iPhone started sending her clues. The iPhone automatically started uploading photos taken by the new owner to her still enabled Apple iCloud account.

Oops! The iPhone Thief Forgot To Disable iCloud

If you’re not already familiar with iCloud, it’s Apple’s wireless syncing service that allows users to automatically sync and backup data between multiple devices.

The person in possession of Katy’s iPhone obviously wasn’t aware of the feature (iCloud can be turned on and off with a swipe of a switch in the iPhone’s Settings). But since iCloud was not disabled, the images were automatically uploaded to Apple’s servers and transmitted thousands of miles away to Katy. Ah, the power of the Internet.

iCloud Photos Reveal Personal Information About The iPhone Thief

Through the synced photos, Katy was quickly able to piece together some information about either the iPhone thief or someone who acquired the phone from the thief.

Stolen iPhone Adventures: Nelson's Sunset
“This is Nelson. Nelson has my stolen iPhone.”

The photos reveal where the new owner works, who his friends are, where his alleged girlfriend works and even the new iPhone owner’s name (thanks to a Disney name tag).

Stolen iPhone Adventures: Facebook Album

Out of frustration, Katy McCaffrey started posting the iCloud photos on Facebook in an album titled “Stolen iPhone Adventures.” After all, the photos were taken with her phone and synced to her iCloud account. Even though the phone was stolen, they are technically her photos, right?

Stolen iPhone Adventures: Facebook Album
Stolen iPhone Adventures: Facebook Album

Katy wrote some really funny photo captions and we encourage you to read them all.

Some of our favorites include:

  • “Uh oh. Nelson’s girlfriend does not look happy with him. I understand the feeling.” (Angry photo of girlfriend)
  • “No denying it Nelson, that’s your name tag, isn’t it?!” (Photo of Nelson wearing a Disney name tag)
  • “Here’s a beautiful sunset he had time to capture, all on my stolen iPhone” (Sunset photo)

Alleged iPhone Thief’s Name Tag Provides Key To Stolen iPhone Mystery

The name tag photo of the alleged iPhone thief was actually the key to this whole stolen iPhone puzzle. A quick Facebook search for someone named “Nelson Cruz” who works for Disney, reveals the profile of the man pictured in many of the iCloud photos.

Stolen iPhone Adventures: Pirate Hookers Costume Party
“…two pirate hookers onboard the Disney Wonder. No denying it Nelson, that’s your name tag, isn’t it?!”

Once you find Nelson, it’s pretty easy to identify people in the other photos based on his Facebook friends list. For example, the Facebook profile for the woman alleged to be Nelson’s girlfriend lists her occupation as Spa Manager for Disney Cruise Line. That matches with one of Katy’s photos which shows the woman behind a desk at the spa.

Stolen iPhone Adventures: Nelson's Spa
Apparently, she works at the spa.

Then there’s a little twist in this story. Nelson’s alleged girlfriend’s Facebook status says she’s engaged…but not to Nelson. Stolen iPhones and cruise line mistresses… oh Nelson, you live such a complex life.

Did The Alleged iPhone Thief Lose His Job?

Will Katy ever get her stolen iPhone back? We’re not sure, but it looks like either Disney caught up with Nelson or he decided to switch employers. According to his Facebook page, he “worked” for the Disney Cruise Line. That’s “worked,” as in the past tense.

Stolen iPhone Adventures: Facebook Page For Nelson M Cruz
Facebook page for Nelson M Cruz

Have You Been A Gadget Victim Before?

Who stole or didn’t steal the phone, doesn’t really matter. We also don’t care if Nelson was duped into buying a stolen iPhone from another Disney employee. We just hope Katy gets her phone back.

What about you? Have you ever had your phone, laptop or another gadget stolen from you before? Please tell us about it in the comments below or tweet us @methodshop.

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