After a hotel worker allegedly stole her AirPods, woman helps Quebec police track them down

After a hotel worker allegedly stole her AirPods, woman helps Quebec police track them down

A Toronto woman says she used geo-tracking software on her smartphone to help Quebec police locate her Apple AirPods after an employee at the hotel she was staying at allegedly stole them during her stay.

Sahar Mohammadzadeh stayed at the Impéria Hôtel & Suites in Boucherville, a suburb on Montreal’s south coast, during last June’s Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend. Just before she checked out on June 20, she noticed her Louis Vuitton purse and some cash were missing after leaving the room. She said she then went to reception to report it, but claimed staff were “incredibly unhelpful” and took no responsibility for the theft.

“And at that point I went back upstairs to my room and I googled like, what do you do in a situation like this? Because again I didn’t get any help from the hotel. And the first thing that came was to call and report the police, which I did,” said the 28-year-old in an interview.

The Imperia Hotel & Suites in Boucherville, Que. (Google Street View)

Upon returning to Ontario, she emailed the hotel on June 22 to explain what had happened and how “my privacy was completely violated.” She asked the hotel to pay her the estimated value of her belongings, approximately $1,500.

She claimed hotel staff initially responded to her email but later ignored her follow-up correspondence asking for action.

“If they had replied to me and apologized and said, ‘We’re sorry you had this experience,’ I would have been much happier and less concerned with the monetary value of these items. But it’s the fact that they just didn’t even acknowledge that this happened. That’s what really, really upset me because you can’t just erase that this happened,” she said.


She noted that her AirPods were also missing. When she opened the “Find my” app on her iPhone, she was able to track her location on a map.

She said she felt “completely validated” when she saw the AirPods were still active at the same hotel where she was staying on Montarville Boulevard, because she suspected a worker had taken them. Then, over the next few days, she noticed that the device kept popping up in the same two places on her screen: at the hotel and at someone’s house.

A screenshot from Sahar Mohammadzadeh’s Find My app showing the location of her AirPods at the hotel days after she checked out. (submitted photo)

The Longueuil police officer who took her case was able to use a court order to force the hotel to produce a list of employees within 30 days, according to emails shared with CTV.

In early November, the officer got a judge to authorize a search warrant at the same address that kept appearing on the map.

Mohammadzadeh even participated in a bit of detective work. Just before the officer showed up at the door of the person’s home, Mohammadzadeh would send him the person’s real-time location about every half hour via the “find my” feature on their phone.

The mobile app comes with most iPhones and shows users the last known location of their Apple devices, including laptops, tablets and earbuds.

On November 29, she received good news. The officer emailed her to say the stolen AirPods were recovered after the search warrant was executed at the person’s home.

It was music to her ears.

“I was like, ‘Oh my god. Okay, well, I think that worked,'” she said Tuesday. “So I kind of filled out a form and then [the officer] said, ‘I’ll send it back to you so you can have it before Christmas.'”

In an email provided to CTV, investigator Mohammadzadeh said it was a hotel worker who allegedly had the AirPods, but the whereabouts of the luxury purse and cash were still unknown.


On December 16, she received her stolen earbuds in the mail, along with a letter from the investigator confirming the release of the “seized evidence.”

A photo of a letter from Longueuil Police confirming the release of the recovered AirPods to Mohammadzadeh. (submitted photo)

CTV News was reached by phone on Monday and asked the hotel how it had dealt with the reported theft and whether the hotel employee concerned was still employed.

Nikolas Salouros, the hotel’s operations and finance director, declined to answer CTV’s questions due to the police investigation.

CTV asked Longueuil police if the suspect had been arrested or charged, but a spokesman declined to comment on the case as it is still under investigation.

Mohammadzadeh is now going public with her story to warn others about how the hotel has been handling her ordeal and to give people a little hope.

“I think the hotel needs to be held accountable or at least face some kind of consequences because to date they have completely pulled out of the situation. And I don’t think that’s fair either,” Mohammadzadeh said.

There are countless online stories of people tracing their lost electronic devices with easy-to-use geolocation mobile apps. Because it’s so easy, some people are tempted to take matters into their own hands to get them back.

Mohammadzadeh felt the same urge to approach the suspect himself, saying she likely lived in Montreal.

“But because I’ve been to Toronto and it’s not a very close journey and you don’t know what you’re going to run into … I just thought, you know what, I’m going to put my faith in the police that they go with the information that we have to.” available to do what they can and I’m glad I did,” she said.

“Material things are material things. I never want to put myself or anyone else at risk to try and get that back. So I would leave it to the professionals. But it sure has crossed my mind a few times. “

It’s this kind of temptation that police recommend people avoid.

“At any time, we recommend that in a situation where a person finds items that have been declared stolen, they contact the relevant police department,” a Longueuil police spokesman said in a brief email to CTV.

Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel reportedly had his AirPods stolen during the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona last May and later found discarded in a shop window, apparently left there after the thieves knew he was chasing them.

Another woman, Juliette Fox, filmed herself confronting a supermarket worker who had accused her of stealing her AirPods.

The location feature was reportedly even used to track the location of Russian troops during the invasion of Ukraine. A man posted on his Instagram account that after his home near Kyiv was ransacked by Russian forces, he noticed his AirPods appearing behind the Russian border.

“Thanks to technology, I now know where my AirPods are. They were looted from my house in Gostomel by Russian orcs,” he wrote on Instagram.

This is an evolving story that will be updated.

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