Epic story involving smartphone thief and the Android user who got his Galaxy Note back


Alleged perpetrator

Android phones don’t exactly come cheap (okay, well at least not all of them), and when you lose one — or worse yet, it gets stolen — it’s right up there with one of the worst feelings in the world. Usually, you don’t have many options. You can only make a few phone calls or SMS messages to your lost or stolen phone and hope you can appeal to their better nature, but other than that — you’re out of luck. Even in the instance that you’ve installed some kind of security software to wipe, snap pictures, and/or send off location data, I’ve heard more than a few stories of police officers that didn’t get involved in the recovery of someone’s stolen property.

This is exactly what one Android user had to deal with after a few of his belongings (including his Android smartphone) were stolen a few days ago. Luckily he installed an Android application called Cerebrus, one of a few in the Play Store that can actually survive a full data wipe/factory reset (provided the user has root). In probably one of the most epic tales you’ll read in a forum, you can follow almost in real time the events that transpired. It goes a little something like this:

  • Victim gets phone stolen from his friend’s house by a burglar.
  • 3 hours later, he posts the story on a Overclockers forum with a pic of the suspected perp using a security app called Cerberus.
  • Further images are taken and posted of the alleged thief while using the phone, sleeping, etc.
  • Speculation arises whether the guy could simply be a buyer and is unaware the phone is stolen.
  • Victim updates thread with developments regarding police involvement. Up until now they’ve been a bit lazy, letting OP do all the detective work for them.
  • Speculation dies after learning of the alleged perp’s details, online dating profile, more pictures, etc.
  • Victim is contacted by the police who are now ready to move in on the perp’s location.
  • Victim gives play-by-play of police who are outside the perp’s door, awaiting door entry equipment.
  • Police bust in door, search apartment, can’t find the phone.
  • Victim sounds off alarm, police find the phone, victim updates and the entire thread goes nuts.
  • Police take phone as evidence.
  • Meme’s are created with the perp’s photos.
  • Cerberus comes through and delivers in spades.
  • Alleged thief released with a warning after telling police the phone was purchased off someone he had “bumped into.”

You can read the entire exciting story over in the original thread on Overclockers which, I have to admit, sounds a bit like the plot line to a movie starring Liam Neisen. I’ve said it before but the last thing you wanna do is steal an Android phone from an experienced user because we will find you, and we will kill you(r online reputation). Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be installing Cerberus onto my Droid DNA.

[via Overclockers | Reddit 1, 2 | Telegraph | Cerberus on Google Play]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Nice touch with Liam. You can haz +1 Interwebz.

    1. Go back to DL !!! Stop trollin’ ;)

      1. I don’t wanna! :(

        1. You better or Chavez might take your job at DL. Lol.

    2. Such an exciting story! I would have loved for the dude to get at least a little jail time. A $600 stolen item ain’t no joke!

      1. Yeah, he should be stoned with BlackBerry Z10’s.

        1. Or worse, forced to use one.

          1. I’d rather be water-boarded.

        2. why not a Nokia? lol

        3. rofl

      2. Problem is no one knows for sure if he was a victim too. Maybe he really did get scammed by a street merchant.

        1. According to the story, there were other stolen goods at his place. No “real” evidence to prove he stole the phone though.

        2. lol one does not get scammed by a street merchant in such a manner. When one buys something off of a street merchant he knows the product is either a counterfeit knockoff, or stolen…err i mean “fell off a truck”

          1. Lol, reminds me of the mecheros on Northern Blvd lol

          2. lol or anything sold on jamaica avenue

          3. Colisseum.. Notorious for stolen AF1’s lol

          4. $40 baby

          5. You have too much faith in the general intelligence of humans.

  2. I love the story. Jerk got what he deserved..

  3. haha that’s great, I’ve had cerberus for a while now, here’s hoping I never have to use it

  4. My GS3 is begging me now

  5. I have a Nexus4 but I don’t like modifying it, and like to keep it stock. will future android OTA updates still arrive and install if i install cerberus?

    1. You can install Cerberus as a standard user app from the Play Store and it will work fine. Root is only required if you want it to be able to survive a factory reset.

    2. It’s an app, you can still install Cerberus and keep your N4 stock.

      It’s a great app, cheap considering the price of the phone.

    3. Yea. I prefer Cerberus over LookOut since LookOut requires you pay a subscription. Cerberus is a one time payment of about $4.

    4. Yea, what Michael said. Also, you will continue to get updates if you root…You might have to re-root after you update though since they are known to break root occasionally.

  6. I’ve had Cerberus for about a year now, and thankfully never had to use it. But let me tell you, in playing around with the alarm function, that s**t is LOUD. Almost as piercing as modern fire alarms.

  7. I have that app. I’m surprised it’s not known. It’s a great app. It saves your location history and all. You can have it to where if someone get’s your password wrong on your phone it snaps a picture. This is more useful on phones with front-facing cameras of course.

  8. I have been wanting to get a relatively cheap smartphone with a front facing camera and decent dev support just so I can throw it on prepaid service and let it into the wild with this app. Leave it at a bar in downtown orlando or something just so I can be like batman…

    1. Haha, love that idea. :)

  9. I’ve been biting my tongue through many articles, and I guess I’m finally at my limit… can you guys pleeeease proofread your articles a little better? “…epic tales you’ll you in a forum”? We all make mistakes, but it’s becoming almost every article, guys, and it really comes across as amateurish and unprofessional. Sorry, I know nitpickers like myself are largely hated, but it’s just getting on my nerves, and part of good journalism is taking the time to proofread what you’ve written. Aside from that, I’d still like to thank you guys for the plethora of Android news you provide… your coverage is so broad and frequent that I only subscribe to this and one other Android RSS feed to satisfy all of my fanboy needs.

    1. This, along with other fan sites, is one of the last places you should look to feed your desire for good journalism. This isn’t a knock on the writer, or you for that matter, but it is the truth. Most of these guys are hobbyists with no formal education in the field. I am as nit picky as you. I finally stopped because I realized, well, everything I just wrote above. :)

  10. I been using gotya!facetrap! Since you reviewed that app
    The data wipe no delete feature might be worth switching.

    1. Yeah, once I get root, I’m putting this on whatever phone I’m using. This, or something like it.

      1. Holy cow Chris u got a down vote for saying you will use an app.
        Somebody don’t like u dude. Haha.

  11. TrustGo saved my phone when it was stolen.

  12. *Liam Neeson
    Also, pretty good story, saw this on Reddit

    1. Zuckerburg?

      1. What? The guy in Taken, the pic at the end of the article. Chris called him “Liam Neisen.”

        1. HA! Meant to look that up. Was thinking Liam Neilsen the whole time (Naked Gun). xD

          1. That would be Leslie Nielsen.

          2. Three errors involved in spelling one name (10 letters). Hmmm… See Richard Craig comment…

          3. Leslie (RIP). That’s what I mean. Gaaah.. Android overload right now.

  13. *CENSORED*

    1. So I have to ask……. what good did all your guns do you then? :)

      1. *CENSORED*

        1. But its just silly what you respond with. Even if you had a concealed weapon strapped you wouldn’t be able to do crap because the guy already had the barrel in your face. Your words.

          1. Woah, woah, woah.. That’s grounds for the ban hammer right there. Chillax.

          2. Ok

          3. You have angered the Chavez!

  14. I don’t get the Liam Neeson reference, explain

    1. He went through all this trouble to find the guy, and…. forget it -_-

  15. Nice story. I prefer TectDroid to this app though.

  16. this app looks dope. cerberus is going to have more customers
    just one question for those who knows, can the thief remove the application in Titanium Backup ?

  17. Lol

  18. *Installing Cerberus* -.-

  19. This proves Cerberus works

  20. Nice story but don’t need Cerberus. I have 3 apps that does full protection, security, etc.

    1. Applock – lock your apps, even locking application setting to prevent user from uninstall. It even lock specific apps, when you tap titanium backup or apps that can process transaction, it pop up a passcode or pattern before you get access.

    2. GotYa! – When user turn the display on and lockscreen show up, I set it when user enter incorrect passcode or pattern twice, it automatic take a pic and send to my email along with the location of the device (gps, etc always on)

    3. Lookout – scan for virus, trojan, etc. Also can track your device by going to lookout website.

    Maybe I can add Cerberus along with other 3 apps for ultimate security.

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