You’d have to agree that when you lose a phone, replacing the device isn’t as painful as rebuilding your list of contacts. That’s why this Chinese thief is so special – he copied over 1,000 contacts on to 11 pages by hand and sent them to the owner of the phone he had stolen.
The $440 iPhone in question belonged to Zou Bin, a barman from Changsha, capital of the Hunan province. Zou told local media that he was returning home wasted from his best friend’s bachelor party earlier this month, when the theft occurred. He had passed out in the taxi taking him home along with three other strangers. Zou isn’t certain which one of them was the culprit.
When Zou discovered that his phone was missing the next morning, he naturally was furious. The device contained more than 1,000 work related contacts that he could not afford to lose. So he did the first thing that came to mind – Zou sent threatening text messages to his own number from a friend’s phone.
In what would later turn out to be a smart move, Zou texted the thief, “You can be sure that I will find you. Just have a look through my contacts and you will see who I am. If you are clever, you will send the mobile back to the following address…”
Of course, Zou wasn’t serious, which is why the pickpocket’s next move stunned him. Four days later, he received a package couriered to his front door. Unfortunately it didn’t contain the phone, but it did carry the next best thing – a handwritten list of Zou’s contacts and his SIM. “All of the numbers were handwritten,” said Zou. “It would take a long time simply to write the numbers 1 to 1,000 let alone all those names and telephone numbers. It must have given him a swollen hand.”
Zou advised that people shouldn’t just give up if they lose their phone. “Sometimes bluffing works,” he said. “But it is also best to save your contacts to your SIM card so you spare the thief some writing.” The thief, whoever he or she is, has become a hero of sorts in the Chinese media. Internet users are calling him ‘the conscience of the robbery industry’. He’s even being compared to model citizen Lei Feng, member of the People’s Liberation Army.
I’m not sure what prompted the thief to do such a thing. Was he genuinely trying to help Zou, or did he feel threatened by the text messages? Whatever the reason, it’s pretty special what he’s done. Perhaps the poor fellow never meant to steal the phone, but didn’t really have the heart to return it either.