June 27, 2018
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood got a note on his desk on Tuesday that read: "Boss, your new phone came today."
A few days earlier, Chitwood had an officer order him a new $600 iPhone 7. His was failing (as iPhones are wont to do) and Chitwood himself will tell you he's helpless without his phone. His own number is the only one he knows.
But what sat on his desk was an old receiver straight from the 1990s, not his new smartphone. It was a joke, he thought.
It appears that on its way to Upper Darby Police headquarters via mail courier, a thief swiped Chitwood's iPhone and just left the bubble wrap inside. And after closer inspection, there was evidence the FedEx delivery box from somewhere in Texas had been carefully compromised.
The officers realized the packaging label on the delivery box had been sliced open and re-taped, Chitwood said. A sophisticated maneuver.
"When it arrived at police headquarters, it was a nicely packaged box of nothing," he laughed. "I felt it and said, 'Jesus Christ, this is awful light.'"
Social media reactions to the theft has been "off the charts," Chitwood said.
To the individual that stole the boss' @ChiefMChitwood new cell phone while it was in route to the station via courier: 1. That thing goes off at 4am every morning 2. Don't call out the UDPD helicopter you'll only be disappointed and 3. Thanks for the bubble wrap-it made our day— Upper Darby Police (@UDPolice) June 26, 2018
That text I got from his number saying, "You're a crumb bum" makes sense now.— Thomas J. Nestel III (@TNestel3) June 27, 2018
When you find them, please let us know! And I think we should all start randomly calling the number and piss them off!— Katie P (@KappyPeaker) June 27, 2018
"You know, some people are taking this very serious," he said. "They're saying, 'It could have been your gun.' But, you know, I never saw the phone, it never got to me. Let people have a good time with it."
Luckily, he's been using an older cellphone from the station while he waits for the replacement-to-the-replacement to be successfully delivered.
"It’s a theft. It happens," he said. "But it’s kind of funny."