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Smartphone app leads two Sherwood girls to a swiped iPhone at a local theater

Annika Anderson, left, and Elizabeth Curtiss display the iPhone that was left inside Sherwood's Regal Cinemas early Monday morning. Police believe a maintenance worker took the phone and hid it inside wall insulation. While some may say that technology has numbed the minds of today’s teens, don’t tell that to Annika Anderson and Elizabeth Curtiss, two Sherwood girls who proved just how much of a godsend an app can turn out to be.

The two girls were watching a 10:30 p.m. showing of “Savages” at Sherwood’s Regal Cinemas Sunday night, heading to the parking lot about 12:45 a.m. when the movie let out.

“We got to the car and I was like, ‘I forgot my phone,’” recalled 18-year-old Elizabeth, a recent Sherwood High School graduate.

So the pair went back and began knocking on the theater doors for about 10 minutes before an employee let them in and all three searched for the missing phone to no avail.

Even the two maintenance workers, contract employees with a company Regal hires to clean their theaters, said they hadn’t seen it either.

“They just kind of looked at us like we were stupid,” said Elizabeth.

So the girls left the theater again, trying to figure out what happened to the missing phone.

“We were sitting in the car and I realized there was an app (Find my iPhone) so I downloaded it,” said Annika, 15, who will be a sophomore at Sherwood High School in the fall.

Like something out of rerun of the now-cancelled Fox television show “24,” a satellite view of the Tualatin-Sherwood Road theater eerily appeared on Annika’s cell phone. Furthermore, it showed that Elizabeth’s iPhone was inside the building.

And it appeared to be moving to a different portion of the theater.

“You could refresh it and it was in different spots,” said Elizabeth. “I thought, ‘that’s suspicious.’”

So the girls traipsed back to the front of the theater and began pounding on the door for another 30 to 35 minutes. At this point, the maintenance crew employees were the only ones left, recalled Elizabeth.

Someone finally answered the door but told them they couldn’t let them inside even though the girls said they knew the phone was inside the theater. The girls even asked the workers how late they would be working so they could see if someone had the phone or if it was still inside.

“(Elizabeth and Annika) were literally going to wait outside until 5 a.m. ,” said Annika’s mother, Donna Anderson, who formally ran Inside Out, a gift and home décor store in Sherwood, and now coordinates the annual Red Sled holiday bazaar.

“After they wouldn’t let us in, I said ‘let’s call the cops,’” said Annika.

So she Googled a non-emergency number for police dispatch and a Sherwood police officer showed up at the theater a short time later.

All three then pounded on the doors again, finally gaining the attention of one of the clean-up crew workers.

By this time, a second Sherwood officer had arrived. When officers questioned the maintenance workers – by this time it was clear there were four of them inside -- all denied having seen the phone.

But Annika’s iPhone clearly showed that that Elizabeth’s smartphone was in the theater -- and strangely enough it had been moved from Theater 8, where they saw the movie, to Theater 9 next door. In fact, the way the satellite image appeared, the phone looked like it was on the wall of the theater.

So the officers called the phone.

“Then Annika puts her hand on the wall and she feels it vibrating,” said Elizabeth.

One of the officers told her not to touch the wall or anything because it was now part of a crime scene. At that point, one of the Sherwood policemen peeled back the black fabric on the wall and discovered the phone stuck inside wall insulation.

Shocked and surprised, both the girls laughed when he removed it.

Police then interviewed the workers.

“Finally the last guy confessed and he said he took the phone but the funny thing is he said ‘I don’t have it,’” said Elizabeth.

By then, Sherwood police had enough probable cause to arrest Pedro Salome Ramos Figueroa, 35, of Vancouver, Wash. He was lodged at Washington County Jail with bail set at $5,000, charged with one count of second-degree theft, according to the Sherwood Police Capt. Mark Daniel.

Returning to the theater on Wednesday, Annika and Elizabeth were given a $100 gift card from the cleaning company who contracts with Regal — the girls said the theater chain declined to name the company — and a $25 Red Robin gift card compliments of Regal.

“Regal was great,” Annika’s mother Donna pointed out.

While the young sleuths were happy with the outcome of the incident that ended around 3:30 a.m., they were less enthusiastic about the movie they came to see.

“Horrible” is how Elizabeth described “Savages.”

However, she’s a big fan of the iPhone locator application.

“I honestly want to contact the app creator and thank him,” she said.




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  • 19 Apr 2014

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