Someone found my Kindle on the airplane this weekend. I’d really like it back.

I left my Kindle on an airplane this weekend (post-convention exhaustion will do that to you), and someone found it.

I know that someone found it, because they've been using my account to buy games and books. Based on the purchases, I'm fairly sure the person who found my Kindle (which is named Wheatley) is young, possibly a teenager or a college student. He or she likes Scrabble, Battleship, Spelling Star, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and something called Telesa. He or she also hopes to learn Samoan, French, and Spanish. He or she has spent a fair amount of my money on these things.

I used Amazon's Personal Document thing to send a note to my Kindle, thanking the person for finding it, and telling them that I can be contacted at [email protected] to arrange its return.

I'm hopeful that this person will do the right thing and get in touch.


I called Amazon, reported it stolen, and they deactivated it after refunding me the fradulent purchases.

This isn't the end of the world; I can afford a new Kindle (thank Steve the Fruitbat), and in the grand scheme of things, it isn't the biggest of deals… but I sincerely hoped that whoever has my Kindle now would have read the note I sent to it, which is titled TO THE PERSON WHO FOUND MY KINDLE, and gotten in touch to return it to me. I want to believe in the basic goodness of people.

I really hope that it wasn't just taken by some kid who decided to keep something because, you know, Finders Keepers. I really hope that it was taken by some dirtbag who turned around and sold it to a kid who is too young to know that "this Kindle comes with whatever you want and you never have to pay for it, just give me fifty bucks for meth!" or whatever is a pretty clear flag that something isn't totally honest with this thing.

Anyway, it looks like I'm not getting it back, and all someone has for their trouble is a useless piece of plastic and wires.

97 thoughts on “Someone found my Kindle on the airplane this weekend. I’d really like it back.”

  1. You can deactivate it on your “Manage my Kindle” screen. Or, you can call Amazon and they’ll actually brick it for you. Handy (if frightening) feature.

  2. It’s a shame people are so greedy that they can’t help out people instead of taking advantage them.
    LoJack for Kindle would be nice. Send the techno-cops to their door, give them a little ‘wake-up call’.
    You’ve already gotten great advise, but there is one more thing. You should be able to turn this in on your homeowner’s or renter’s policy under the comprehensive coverage (I believe that is the section that covers lost items). Make sure it is worth it, sometimes they get fussy about claims, even relatively small ones.
    Good luck and take care!

  3. It’s probably some little 8-9 year old kid, who doesn’t understand where money comes from, but understands that s/he’s not allowed to have a Kindle, and that hiding it from the parents is probably a good idea if s/he wants to keep it.
    And chances are, when those parents find it, they will try to return it. They might figure out how to access the note you sent, they might not.
    Either way, you’ll be able to tell because the purchasing activity will stop.
    Also, doesn’t Amazon have some kind of buyer protection so they can reverse the charges and/or lock down the machine?

  4. I set down my cell phone at the supermarket yesterday. I walked out of the store and left it on the self-checkout machine. I walked right back in less than three minutes later when I realized it was gone. Saw three teenage girls take it on the security cam. So far it hasn’t been used for anything. I have Lookout installed on it so the moment it has a data connection it will lock itself and get located. I don’t think I’ll get it back, though.

  5. That totally sucks, Wil. I am doubtful that you will get it back, but hopefully Amazon can track down said person and punch them in the genitals for you.

    (also hopefully my comment will close that unclosed bold tag above)

  6. Everybody, please, I think we all know how this problem should be approached. Once the Enterprise returns to Sector 001, adjust the phase compensators on the transporter to match Wil’s Kindle’s WiFi signal, and beam it back on board. Then launch a photon torpedo at the last known coordinates of the Kindle.
    (yes, I am THAT nerdy :)

  7. At the risk of double-posting (I don’t see that my original comment has shown up)…
    I own neither Kindle nor Nook, but my iPad is constantly asking me for my password every time I do anything – do eReaders allow you to buy without passwords?

  8. Sorry to hear about this, Wil.
    Anything that my husband or I have lost in public has never been returned, so I’m a little pessimistic about your odds of receiving a response from whomever holds your Kindle. People are dicks.

  9. Hope that you get it back, and soon. But contact Amazon ASAP and have them disable your Kindle account. Then again you can do it yourself from any computer.
    And good luck!

  10. My parents got divorced when I was 4 years old, so I spent a lot of time flying back and forth between Edmonton Alberta Canada, where I lived with my mom, and LA.
    Well, I was about 6 years old- and my friend Nadine had just visited Barbados. She brought me back this stuffed lizard and I loved it! I named it Lizzie and took it on the plane with me.
    Lizzie decided to stay on board for an extra trip.
    Stupid Lizard.
    My Dad spent 4 hours in the airport with me waiting while they searched the plane and everywhere She could be.
    No Lizzie.
    My point: I feel your pain.
    RIP Wheatley.

  11. From your latest Tweet about it, it might be this person: [REMOVED] **please don’t post personal information here, however well-intentioned.

  12. Josh Sgro said…
    “I recommend calling amazon and letting them know that your kindle was stolen and you need the IP address that was most recently associated with it. With that info you could track down the person’s home yourself and contact them, or go to the police with the info.”
    Yeah, then he could pull a Sheldon Cooper and go bang on the person’s door and demand that they give Wheatley back.
    He might need to take Felicia Day with him, though. Dr. Cooper needed Penny’s assistance, after all. 😉

  13. what a douchewagon. Seriously.
    I find this horrible that I can leave my purse with money in it at work, no one touches it (with phones and kindles blah blah) in a neighbor hood that is frankly scary.
    and THAT happens in a place with security.
    that just is upsetting

  14. All Kindles except Fire run linux behind the scenes. For your next Kindle, just whip up a quick script that runs silently in the background and sends you an email listing its IP address every time it connects to wifi. The new “owner” will never know there’s a trail of breadcrumbs leading straight to his/her door.

  15. I had that happen to me. I stupidly left my Nook on the plane flying to the family Christmas. I quickly contacted B&N to blacklist it, but then I was emailed by the gentleman who found it several weeks later.
    Then again, it’s been three months and he still hasn’t actually returned it… oh, well. I just went ahead and got a new one.

  16. glad to hear the cs team was able to get wheatley locked down and they took care of those charges, but sad that it likely won’t be returned.
    also, my apologies for leaving comments all over the place for you with the info…i wanted to make sure it found you. i’ll go back to being my normal mostly quiet self now!

  17. yep, replying to myself.
    the other thing (briefly mentioned above by another commenter) is that you can, indeed, keep all your previous books and games, since they’re licensed to the actual amazon account, rather than directly to the kindle device.
    so when you do get your new kindle, everything should come over just fine.

  18. I would bet that it was found by the crew that cleans the plane. And rather than actually turn it in to lost and found like an ethical person, they took it home. I haven’t lost many things over the years on a plane, but whenever I have, I’ve NEVER EVER gotten it back despite phone calls to the airline very soon after the loss. The airlines don’t give a fig. I would write a letter of complaint to the airline on the lack of either ethics or thoroughness. They either stole it or they didn’t find it when they cleaned and another passenger on a later flight took it.

  19. Wil,
    Longtime reader de-lurking for this.
    This sucks, and I hope this turns out well, but the person may not even get the “TO THE PERSON WHO FOUND MY KINDLE” document you sent.
    Amazon only sends those over wifi, and if they are only connected by the 3g modem, they won’t see it. (At least based on mine – Kindle Keyboard 3g/WiFi.)
    Good luck,

  20. Wil,
    While I admire your naive (almost Wesley Crusher-like?) faith in humanity, I agree with most of the posters here that your Kindle is long gone.
    That said, I hold out hope that a person dumb enough to buy things on a stolen Kindle (thinking the original owner wouldn’t notice?) may also be dumb enough to call Amazon customer service and say, “Hey – the Kindle I found on the plane suddenly stopped working. Can you fix it?” Hopefully, Amazon has Wheatley’s serial number on a watchlist & can pick this guy/gal up if he/she calls in…

  21. Well, I have a Kindle *signed by* Wil (thanks by the way!), but I hope that Wheatley finds his? way back and doesn’t try, you know, testing things.
    Hope this didn’t cast a shadow upon your time at ECCC this year… you were one of the highlights of the show.
    Also, if you didn’t already, sending an email to [email protected] will push it over whispernet… they used to charge for it, but don’t any more.

  22. Bummer, dude! I lost a fairly new 32 gig iPod Touch the same way coming back from Bethesda. At least with my iPhone I can use the Find My Phone and brick it if I have to.

  23. What happened to good comedy.
    If I found Wil’s kindle before I returned it I would knock up a fake eBook called something like “100 uses of a dead wheaton” by Dr Sheldon Cooper. or some such thing.
    Upload it to amazon as a free ebook and then purchase it so Wil got the notification. I figure a week of such fun, then request a shipping address to return it.
    Some people today dont seem to have the “Don’t be a dick gene”

  24. Hey, look at the bright side, at least you know that today’s youth hasn’t abandoned books and reading despite a public school system hellbent on passing standardized tests instead of making sure kids have the skills they need to survive in the world! :)

  25. I heard on the street that it was a joint venture: Dr. Sheldon Cooper teamed up with Todd Zarnecki to get revenge on his nemesis Wheaton.

  26. Mine got jacked at a SciFi con earlier this year – not sure if jacked from the volunteer room (who would do that?) or the dressing room for the fashion show (for which i was a designer). managed to deactivate it before they bought anything, but i hope they get bad karma overload. i, unfortunately, cannot afford to buy a new one. :(

  27. I accidentally left my transformer on the top of my car the other day. As I was driving, I kept noticing a car behind me that was following very closely. I tried to loose it by driving behind the market, but the area was closed off and I had to turn around. They drove in front of me and blocked off my exit – then I noticed the woman in the passenger seat holding my transformer out window to me. -I felt like a moron, but I was moved by the idea that someone would drive like a maniac to get me to stop so they could return to me what I had lost.

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