When Lawrence Flynn’s smartphone was stolen in Atlanta in July, he assumed it was gone for good. Weeks went by. Police had no leads.
“I had given up hope,” he said.
But an investigator at Absolute Software had not given up. Four months after the theft, Flynn, 57, got a call from the company, which attempts, for an annual fee of $30, to recover a customer’s stolen phone no matter where it ends up.
Using forensic tools embedded in the phone, the investigator tracked down Flynn’s Samsung Galaxy S4 in an unlikely place: more than 1,400 miles away in the Dominican Republic. Local police retrieved the device at an electronics store in the Dominican city of San Cristobal.
Earlier this month, Flynn opened his mailbox and found his phone.
“I’m overjoyed,” he said. “It’s a $600 phone.”
As the underground market for stolen smartphones has become a global industry, Absolute Software has positioned itself as a private detective agency of sorts, hunting down pilfered devices across the globe and helping bring thieves to justice.
The company’s team of former law enforcement officers has recovered more than 30,000 devices — mostly laptops and PCs — over the past two decades in more than 104 countries. Flynn was among the first to sign up for the company’s new smartphone recovery service earlier this year.