Driver who confronted Doncaster iPad thief surrounded by car attack gang

Smart phones and tablets are a common target for thieves.
Smart phones and tablets are a common target for thieves.

A man who confronted a Doncaster thief who stole his iPad was surrounded by a gang of men who began kicking his vehicle and threatening him.

Ryan Linley has revealed how a group of men surrounded his car and began attacking it after he tracked down the person who stole his tablet to a house in Doncaster.

The 25-year-old haulage worker took the law into his own hands after his iPad was stolen during a day out at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park with his daughter.

Ryan, from Bridlington told the Daily Mail how the iPad, his wallet with £50 and bank cards in it, along with his camper van keys, disappeared when his rucksack was snatched at the Branton-based tourist attraction in March.

Without the van keys, he and Isabella, six, were stranded and a family member had to travel from East Yorkshire, with a spare set so they could drive home.

The thief had switched off Ryan’s iPad, which meant a tracking app didn’t work and he was unable to trace it. However, on police advice, he set up an email alert to tell him when it was next switched on.

A month later, an email came through and Ryan was able to track the device from his iPhone to an address in Doncaster.

He immediately called the police and asked if an officer could meet him at the address. ‘The officer told me “there is nothing we can do”, so I explained that, nevertheless, I was going to knock on the door and ask for my iPad back."

"With hindsight, I can see it was quite a risky thing to do, but I work really hard for my money and I wasn’t prepared to sit back and let someone else steal what’s mine.

"I suppose it helps that I’m 6ft 6in and built like a haystack."

He found the dilapidated house in the middle of an estate.

"A woman of about 30, obviously high on drugs, answered the door and, when I explained why I was there, she denied having my iPad,’ recalled Ryan.

"Then a man — her partner, I think —came to the door and started threatening me. I didn’t want any violence, so I went back to sit in my van and called the police."

"While I was explaining the situation to them, four men, including the guy from the house, surrounded my van and started kicking it. The officer could hear what was going on and said they would send someone out.

"I was on my own for about 15 minutes with a bunch of men threatening me, so of course it was unsettling, but I was determined to stay put."

Two officers arrived and, although Ryan was able to show them on his phone that his iPad was inside the house, they said that wasn’t grounds enough for them to search it. However, shortly afterwards, the man of the house walked out smoking a marijuana joint, which police said gave them reason to search the premises for drugs.

As officers headed through the front door, they spotted a young man jumping over the back fence.

As his iPad was never found, Ryan believes he took it with him.

"I’ve since bought another iPad, although I’m still paying for that one, which is incredibly galling,’ he says. ‘But what upsets me most is that it contained lots of photographs of my daughter, taken on days out, which are irreplaceable.

"It’s very frustrating that, even though technology can now track down thieves, the police don’t, or can’t, seem to do anything with that information, so there is little point in involving them."