05/27/2010 11:34 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

How I Got My Cell Phone Back

...or, My Totally Electronic Encounter with a Teen of Today

I left my BlackBerry in Target while I was dumping everything out of my purse to look for my keys, which I had left in Best Buy minutes before. (I admit - not my finest moment)
Anyway, when I got home I tried to suspend service on my now missing phone, I noticed on my computer that there were responses to emails being written from my BlackBerry email to people who had sent me messages.

First, there was this response to a business associate confirming a meeting:
"Gotta cancel i got daerea."

This was in response to a party invite:
"Wut I was gonna invite u for my daughters b day"

This one was in response to a friend confirming he would do a web short I wrote...
"Read the script and its not funny at all"

And I have no idea what he wrote to my friend Laurie, who was horrified, and, I think, deeply offended.

After I frantically emailed people doing damage control, and saying that my email had been hacked and that they should ignore any weird messages, I heard from him - probably because he saw from my emails that I now knew I was hacked.

Here is the full, unedited, exchange from my email to me, and back 'n' forth with him:

Him: Sorry bout d hackin. Just wanted some fun. Found phone at target

Me: Can you please return phone to Target customer service?

(No response)

Me: PLEASE?? It has pictures of my kids.

Him:Don't know if I can. I rarely go to dat one cause I live far away. Waited at the food place for someone to come but no one came to look for d phone. Again I am sorry

(I paused trying to figure out what to say... then...)

Him: Don't know if I have time. If ur worried bout the pics I can email it to u

(again, pause)

HIm: I'd like to return it but I really don't have time. Unless this is really imp to u

Me: Extremely important. You should have returned it to the Target. It's stealing.

Me: pleeeeeeeaaaaaassseee!?

Him: Is it d pics u want or d phone. I can email d pics. Finders keepers. Its not stealing. And even if I returned it its not guaranteed that they wouldn't have given it to ya. And did u know u lost it at target cause u wouldn't have known if I hadn't emailed u

Me: They have all my info at Target. Yes I know I left it there. It's been suspended AND reported stolen. You won't be able to activate it. And it will be traced to you. Good luck with that. You are gonna be in TROUBLE.


Me: Look, I am obviously VERY upset. You took my phone and emailed business associates of mine. It was VERY upsetting. It is stealing.

Him: Look I didn't steal it I found it. I really don't have time. I am a high school student and its testing week. They can't track me if I throw the phone away.

Me: You should ALWAYS report a phone you found. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. You had time to screw with my account, and now you are going to throw away all the pictures of my children? Pics I can't ever get back? How would you feel?

Him: I'm trying to help u out. I will return it just not dis week. But if ur gonna scare me and say it will be tracked down I can just throw it away

Me: It would only be tracked if you tried to re program it for your own use. I would appreciate it more than you know if you just returned it when you can. And STOP emailing people from it. Other than me. It's the right thing to do. Trust me. You would never want this to happen to you. KARMA.

Him: I have had a phone stolen from me before. I didn't get careless and lost it. It was stolen from me. I can email u ur pics. Trust me I would return the phone but I live to far away and I have to study and don't have time.

Me: You have plenty of time. You don't have time to email my pictures one by one. You ahve never lost ANYTHING? I went back to Target and asked them and no one had turned it in. You were not a very good citizen today. Don't blame me for this, kid.

Him: It has happend to me. I have no intentions on programing it. I am no tech genius. And I will return it when I can. Maybe in a few weeks

Me: The right thing to do would be to put it in the mail to the Target on Santa Monica if you don't have time to go there.


Me: Thanks.


From his email.... (email address edited for privacy)
He attaches half of my phone pics with this...

Him: Doesn't take long to email these hundreds of pics. It was only 28 MB and gmail can transfer up to 25. Just split it into 2 diff folders and compressed it. Ur other pics coming in next email.

Me: Thought you weren't a tech genius? :)

Me: Listen Mark, I really need my phone. This is all time you could have spent either studying or putting it in an envelope and doing a really good deed. I appreciate the pics, but all of my contacts, everything...gone. All I am asking is that you drop it in the mail to the Target customer service. If you do that, good things will come to you. I know this.

Him: Do you have all of it already cause I am about to delete it. Well I can't pick a machine apart and reprogram it.Just basic computer stuff. Want anything else from ur phone?

Me: Can you upload a contact list? Is that possible?

Him: Well it only took 5 minutes of my "studying time". I do have major tests but I'm too busy watchin d Lakers game. :)
But you seem like a nice person and I'll see if I can get someone to take it to target either this week or next. I promise u will get ur phone back.

Him again: I'll try to see if I can upload contacts later. I gotta eat dinner.

Me: Haha! You should be studying!
Okay. Thanks so much. I am a nice person. And you aren't so bad yourself. Thanks for helping me out. It's been a pretty bad day. Or weird. More of a weird day since trying to explain to my business associate that I didn't in fact have to cancel due to "diarrhea" (check your spelling by the way). Go Lakers.
Best, Jamie

Him: I'm 50/50 right now on returning it this sat. I may be able to around 12:00. Sorry for the hacking. I really just couldn't resist. You were my age once. I will be giving you back ur phone this week.( At the La Brea Target, also do I just give it to them and tell them you lost it?) But if you really need ur contacts right now I can get it to you right now.

Me: Hey! I'm not 100 years old! I get it. It was pretty funny actually. My husband and I are still laughing. NOT THAT YOU SHOULD EVER DO IT AGAIN. :)
Yes, I need my contacts. If you can upload that would be awesome.
You could just go to customer service and say you found it outside or something. They won't ask. They will just call me about it.

Him: Good News! :) My mom said she will take the phone tomorrow to Target. You can pick it up maybe around after 2. Didn't have time to upload all the contacts to the computer for you but I'll tell you how just in case you loose ur phone again. download the file here. It gives u an option for a PC or Mac. Download whichever one you have. After u download, connect ur Blackberry to the computer via USB and you can sync ur adress book from your blackberry to your computer.

Me: Awwww. Thank you. You are a good guy, Mark.
Please thank your mom for me too. I can't tell you how much this means to me.
Seriously. Good things are coming your way.
You never know....
Thanks again,

And the following morning...

Me: You're a good guy, Mark.
Target called me. I am on my way to get my phone.
I would like to send you a thank you gift as a reward.
Can you give me a mailing address?

Him: Thank You but no thank you.
It was just the right thing to do and
I did not expect anything in return.
Thanks again anyway for the offer.
May God bless you and your family.

Him again: 1 question. I checked out that link you have in ur emails (ronnaandbeverly). So ur an actress? :) I mean not a really famous one that would be all over magazines but I'm guessing you are the Jamie Denbo that popped up on my google search that said starred on the show "Happy Hour" back in 06 and some others.....

Me: I would really like to send you a little something in appreciation.
And yes, that would be me.
A very unfamous actress :)

Him: Well I know how you feel when you feel like you really gotta thank the person in some way and it just doesn't feel right (for me) to not thank the person. Well....
(his address)
THANK YOU in advance.

I sent him a gift certificate to Target. I figured if he was rewarded for doing the right thing, maybe he would pause before telling a stranger about "daerea" next time.