iPhone 'thief' exposed as pictures land in 'owner's' dropbox

iPhone nicked from Spain and later brought to Dubai reveals day-to-day activities of UAE-based man to European woman who claims to be smartphone’s rightful owner.

  • Pictures of 'Hafid' which landed in the German woman's dropbox and which have been published on he Image Credit: Supplied
  • Pictures of 'Hafid' which landed in the German woman's dropbox and which have been published on he Image Credit: Supplied
  • Pictures of 'Hafid' which landed in the German woman's dropbox and which have been published on he Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: A German woman whose iPhone was allegedly nicked in Spain traced the alleged thief to Dubai after the man’s pictures taken on the phone landed in her Dropbox account.

And the day-to-day activities of the UAE-based man is now at the centre of a global campaign by the woman who claims to be the smartphone’s rightful owner.

The woman alleged her phone was taken at night in late December while she was out on the beach with friends in Ibiza, a Spanish resort island in the Mediterranean.

Four months after the alleged incident, when she opened her Dropbox account, she noticed 15 new pictures inside her “camera upload” folder.

In late July, she published the pictures in a blog (lifeofastrangerwhostolemyphone.tumblr.com), often using hilarious, even disparaging, descriptions.

One picture shows the man standing next to a vintage car with UAE plate number. In another image the same man was seen posing in front of Matajer Centre supermarket in Sharjah. Other pictures show him dancing, having tea and posing with friends near a mosque.

The man is also seen posing on a beach with the Burj Khalifa in the background.

“This is one of the first pictures he accidentally uploaded to my folder. The skyline in the background was easy for me to recognise... He is obviously in Dubai,” she wrote.

The blogger, however, did not give her name and offered little by way of her background (she admitted taking an architecture class).

Her blog had become an instant hit, as she describes each picture taken by the man who she claims has her iPhone. She invariably used the epithets “poser”, “happy” and “chilled” as subtitles.


Later, the blogger identified the man as ‘Hafid’, which she said she had found out through her own research. The blogger, however, did not respond to XPRESS’ query regarding the authenticity of her claims.

And while most readers of the blog are amused by her witty posts, not everyone is convinced. “Very funny,” said one follower, “Although I suspect that this is viral marketing by Dropbox. Nobody is as dumb as ‘Hafid’.”

On July 28, a certain ‘Eleonora’ reacted to a post, accusing the blogger of racism. “Great idea, but it’s funny how your racism shows in virtually every sentence you write. You’d be better off sticking to just showing the pictures ... By now I’m happy you and your friends’ stuff got stolen. You sound like a terrible person.”

And in a surprising twist, a certain ‘Hafid’ wrote a comment for a July 28 (most of her blog entries were dated July 28) post on August 4, saying: “And remember you are the idiot who went on a beach in darkness and expected all your stuff to be there when you got back. How stupid is that… You weren’t staying in a tent, you had a hotel where you could have kept all your belongings in a safe. You deserve to be taunted by your iPhone just to remind you not to do it again.”

Your comment

  • Abdul Mateen

    Aug 8, 2013 11:37

    This is not funny. Hafid! You must return the iPhone to the original owner.

  • Anonymous

    Aug 8, 2013 9:30

    My smartphone is stolen in UAE and the photos taken by the thief keep coming to my dropbox.

  • Eleonore

    Aug 8, 2013 6:30

    The girl heavily moderates the blog comments and she's not allowing any negative comments. Mine for sure did not make it and thus she's only listing positive comments in which people applaud her initiative and say how smart and funny she is. That being said, I think we can only point to people as thieves once police research has confirmed this to be so. I myself attempted to post a comment criticizing the fact that she's acting against local laws by showing unblurred faces not only of purported thief but also of other people possibly not involved. She is thus in turn committing a crime for invading these people's privacy. I think all affected parties should jointly take legal measures.

  • Jesu

    Aug 8, 2013 5:25

    Really funny..I liked the last para!!

  • naz

    Aug 8, 2013 4:33

    'Dubai man who stole German woman's iPhone exposed as his pictures land in owner's dropbox account' what a misleading headline!! First of all, no ones even sure he stole it or it was bought from someone who did....The reporting team seems to have hired 12-year-olds.