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Not so long ago, if you were travelling overseas and someone swiped your bag or camera, you pretty much had until you left the country to crack the caper. Unless you happened to be carrying a cargo of priceless gems in your tote bag, the local authorities weren’t going to coordinate an international search and recovery operation with you once you’re back in your home country.

Things are different now, when so many of the gadgets we take with us on vacation are linked to cloud storage services and social media accounts. Such was the case of one Japanese traveler who goes by the Twitter screen name Matsumoto Hiroki. Matsumoto, who lost his iPhone on a trip to Bangkok, was able to track down the person using it through iCloud, which is when his story got really interesting.

Matsumoto decided to escape the cold snap that hit Japan at the end of last year by taking a trip to warm, tropical Thailand for a few days. However, his trip hit a snag when he lost his iPhone on December 29. The now Apple-less traveler sent out a tweet saying that anyone trying to get in tough with him should try his Gmail account instead.

▼ Only a full schedule of speaking engagements in the afterlife prevented Steve Jobs from finding the time to rise from the grave in fury.

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By January 5, Matsumoto was back in Japan and armed with a new iPhone 5c. He was also able to determine the location of his previous phone, finding it had travelled quite a distance from Bangkok, where it had last been in his possession.

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Since Matsumoto’s previous phone was still linked to his iCloud account, he decided to see if its unauthorized user had uploaded any pictures. The snapshots Matsumoto saw were very different from what he’d been expecting, though.

In Japanese media, there’s a pretty common image of how thieves look. They’ve usually got a stubbly beard, a cabbie’s hat, and always wear sunglasses.

▼ Literally the first Google image search result for dorobo (Japanese for “thief”).

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Obviously Matsumoto doesn’t assume each and every criminal looks like that, but still, we doubt he expected this.

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This put the Japanese traveler in a bit of a quandary. It’s doubtful the Thai police would have the time or idle manpower to accommodate a request to bring the girl to justice. Plus, Matsumoto had already purchased a new iPhone. He didn’t need two, and he wasn’t going to be able to get a refund for his new unit.

But while Matsumoto had a smartphone, something he didn’t have was a girlfriend. While the woman’s possession of his old iPhone was a legal grey area, his opinion on her looks was much more cut and dry. In Matsumoto’s own words, “Her pictures are really cute, so I’m not sure how to handle this.”

“Maybe you two are meant to be together!” one of Matsumoto’s Twitter followers joked, to which he responded, “She’s so cute, I want to tell her ‘You can keep the iPhone as long as we can be fiends!’”

▼ Aside from companionship, a relationship with the girl would, through her selfies, provide glimpses into areas usually off-limits to men, such as the women’s restroom.

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Deciding that he didn’t stand to lose anything more, Matsumoto decided to act in his impulse. He translated the offer into Thai, and set it as the lock screen message on the iPhone the woman had been using.

With the proposal made, Matsumoto settled in to wait for the next photo uploaded from his old phone. Would Matsumoto’s gamble pay off?

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Unfortunately, no. It looks like Matsumoto isn’t going to be able to tell his kids the charming story of how he met their mother when she bought his smartphone on the black market, as his overture of friendship, was met with a barrage of photos of a young man.

Like most men, Matsumoto’s magnanimous generosity doesn’t extend to other members of the Y-chromosome club, and he promptly cancelled service on his old phone, along with excluding it from access to his iCloud account. It’s a shame he came away from his experiment in international amnesty with nothing to show for it, but let this be a lesson. Crime doesn’t pay, especially when it happens to you.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Top image: Twitter
Insert images: Wikipedia, Twitter, FC2, Twitter (1, 2)