First the pepper spray came out, then the switchblade. At that point, I began to wonder about my life choices.

See, it all started with a Motorola and an ad on KSL.

8-22 Josh Column (Sara Parker)-9898.JPG
(Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

I’d decided it was time for a new iPhone — or at least one new to me — when my phone ended up in the classifieds. “Like New Nexus 6, 32GB, $225 OBO.”

It took a few days, had some interest here and there, but eventually the phone rang.

“You still have the Nexus 6?” he said.

”Yeah, using it right now.”

”I’ll take it. Can you meet me at the Ogden High parking lot by the football field in about an hour?”

”Sounds good. I’ll be there.”

An hour later, my roommate and I were sitting in the car in the Ogden High parking lot by the football field. We waited 15 minutes before the buyer texted me.

11-18 The Motorola Epic (Josh) (1 of 1).JPG
The stolen phone. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

“I’m walking over there now.” 

Not wanting to make someone suffer the cold needlessly, I offered to drive wherever he was. He agreed and sent me an address a few minutes later.

Down we headed, toward the back end of a dead-end road. We found the address, parked, and I started walking toward the door when I get another message.

“Pull up. I’m up by the pond.”

Seems odd, but he must have been walking and turned around when I offered to drive over.

Up by the pond waited a white sedan, one that pulled away the moment we pulled up. I got out of the car, shook the man’s hand. He introduced himself as Jon.

It was dark, not many streetlights, but the moon was bright enough I could make out his face. He seemed nice as we spoke about the phone and all the accessories I’d included.

After 15 minutes, I reached for my bag to zip it up. I turned and saw him holding keys up to my face, and I thought, “Why is he showing me his keys?”

Then he began to pepper spray me.

PSA: Glasses are not goggles. You’d think they would help protect you against being Maced. They do not.

Out came my knife. I forced open one of my eyes, so I could stave off the attack. Through the painful glimpse, I saw him sprinting away.

I banged on the window of the car, my roommate still in the driver’s seat.

”What?” he said as he rolled down the window.

“After him! He pepper sprayed me!” I cried out.

The car roared to life, whipped around and sped away as I stumbled in the dark. I find that being able to open your eyes, even in the darkness, is highly underrated. 

I tried to rub my eyes, only making them worse, when I heard the car returning.

”He disappeared. Get in. We will find a place to wash your eyes out.”

I fumbled for the door and climbed in, so we could drive to a nearby house. Irony is seeking shelter from the exact address he gave me, as I did.

My roommate led me to the door, and I knocked. I heard what I thought was a door opening.

“Is the door open?” I turned toward where I assumed my friend was.

”Yeah, it’s open.”

“Hello, sir or madam. I appear to have been robbed. Could I bother you for a phone and possibly a sink where I can wash the pepper spray out of my eyes?”

I heard a woman yelling to who I assumed was her husband, telling him I said I’ve been robbed and asking if she should let me in. Thankfully, she did.

As I tried desperately to wash my eyes out in her sink, the cops showed up and began asking me questions. How tall was he, what did he look like — the usual things.

“You’re about what … 35?” the officer asked.

I stopped washing for a moment and turned to the general direction the noise came from.

“That was mean. I’ve already been wronged. You don’t need to add to it. I’m 29.”

 He laughed and I continued to wash, my eyes still unable to stay open for longer than a second.

”I gotta tell ya, I’ve been pepper sprayed a lot, and you’re just making it worse. Go out into the cold and fan your face,” he said.

I was led outside, where EMTs were waiting. Before leaving, they told me there isn’t much they could do, and I should go wash my eyes out.

“Listen, I’ve been pepper sprayed a lot more than they have. Don’t listen to them.”

I finished giving my statement, thanked the people who let me in and headed home. Story ends for a few days.

Two days after my ordeal, I joined a group on Facebook called “You know your from Ogden if,” and I made a single-word post: “*you’re.”

About a week passed. I was relegated to a $30 Russian phone that took me back to the dark ages of the early 2000s. Then I saw the picture.

I logged into Facebook, and what did I see in the Ogden group? A picture of the person who robbed me, along with his name and where he goes to school.

I was all smiles as I picked up the phone.

“Ogden dispatch, how can I help you?”

“Yeah, I didn’t know who exactly to call about this. I was robbed by some guy about a week ago, Maced, filled out a report, whole big thing.”

“Yes, and how can I help you?”

“Well … I found him. On Facebook. Found his name, his school, everything.”

“… Oh … well … uh … give me all your information.”

After giving all my information, I finally began to read the post. Most comments were boring or claims of having been robbed as well, but one caught my eye: 

”I have his fingerprints all over the laptop he tried to steal and his phone!”

I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Man, it would be funny if that were mine.”

I read a little further.

 “It’s a really nice Motorola, probably stolen.”

Having recently been robbed of a “really nice Motorola,” I clicked on her profile and found her employer. 

They directed me to her other job, and she answered.

“Hey, we are about to have a weird conversation, and I’m so sorry,” I said. “The Motorola he dropped — was it a dark blue Nexus 6 with a two-piece white case that has Project Fi written in the lower right corner, blue power button and green volume rocker, a glass screen-protector on the front with a small chip in the lower-left?”

“Actually, yeah, it is. How did you know?”

”That is my phone. He stole it from me, and then, apparently, had it on him when he tried to rob you.”

We talked for a bit and agreed to meet the next day at the police station — but not before I find out she appeared on Fox News.

Of course, I searched for the video, and, of course, I found it. And then life just got better.

I was robbed on Nov. 4. She encountered him on Nov. 5 when he met with her and her boyfriend to “buy” her laptop.

They let him sit in the backseat of their car while showing him the laptop, and when her boyfriend asked for the money, he was pepper sprayed.

She jumped out of the car, and the would-be robber attempted to do the same. He failed, though, as her backdoor locks had been broken for months.

It was at this point she whipped open the door, pulled out her own Mace and began spraying him directly in the eyes. Not content to simply blind him, she then pulled out her stun gun and began tasing him while spraying enough pepper spray to empty the bottle.

Neighbors heard screaming and came out to see what the commotion was, which distracted her enough to give her assailant time to escape.

Less than 24 hours after I had been Maced, my attacker got everything that was coming to him — and tased on top of that.

The next day, we met at the station, the cops kept my phone as evidence and I learned the rest of the story.

An hour after the assailant Maced the poster’s boyfriend, the assailant messaged her, not realizing who she was, and attempted to set up a meeting to “buy” her laptop.

Two days later, I called the station’s front desk, and the Ogden police’s version of Toby from “The Office” answered. I explained I was hoping to get my phone back.

”Alright,” he said, with a slow, somber inflection. “We are open until 4:30. Can you be here by then?”

“Sure. I mean I can get there in like a half hour.”

“Ok, then just come here, and we can give you your phone.”

I showed up and was handed my phone. The phone I hated, the one I was bored of, had become the most beautiful sight and most interesting thing I own.

I got home, changed my ringtone, and the next day, I headed into work. As my afternoon meeting drew to a close, I had my assistant call my phone, and the song “Reunited” began to play.

And so ends the Saga of the Motorola — a hateful phone I’m stuck with until after court, that is, assuming my (eventually thwarted) robber is ever caught.

The moral of the story? Use the Ogden Exchange Zone found in front of the Francom Public Safety Building on 2186 Lincoln Avenue, downtown. 

It is well-lit, has cameras everywhere and exists for just such an occasion.

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