Florida teen uses Facebook to get stolen iPhone back from schoolmate

Published On: Apr 09 2013 06:58:02 AM HST

A Treasure Coast high school student said he wasn't going to stand by and do nothing after someone stole his phone.

So he set up an elaborate sting on Facebook to get it back.

Nicholas Douglas and just about everyone who hears his story will be surprised to see the 16-year-old's stolen iPhone is back in his hands.

"I guess I can say I'm glad about what I did," Douglas told WPBF 25 News. "Now it kind of gives kids a little bit of warning and it might prevent this from happening again in the future."

The Treasure Coast High School sophomore left his gym locker unlocked, and a thief grabbed his phone.

"I do remember at the beginning of the year they told me to watch out, (that) people do steal phones," Douglas said.

He said that after the theft, some students looked suspicious in the locker room, so he paid a visit to his school resource officer.

"Unfortunately, there's a lot of theft in high school," said the school's resource officer, Nathaniel Penney. "And a lot of the times you're not able to catch who actually did it."

With the officer unable to do much, Douglas launched a sting of his own. He went on Facebook, visited a Treasure Coast tech-trading page and found the student he suspected.

"It was actually just a spur of the moment idea," Douglas said. "My cousin was on Facebook and my sister had her computer up. So I just told her, 'Let me use one of my friends' accounts.'"

That's what he did, and that's how he got Billy Simplice, 19, to call him back from Douglas' phone.

A sale was arranged and, with Penney with him, Douglas showed up at a gas station and the bust was on.

"It's pretty impressive that he took it on himself to go online and actually investigate it and use undercover work," Penney said.

Simplice was released from jail Monday. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful, ironically because the phone number he gave police was disconnected.


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