How one aging iPhone 4 destroyed a Texas family

A man charged with theft after taking away his daughter's iPhone 4 has been acquitted in Texas. The man still possesses the smartphone, but he no longer has a relationship with his daughter.

cracked iphone 4
Credit: DaveOnFlickr, CC BY_SA 2.0

Daughter sends texts that daddy doesn't like. As punishment, daddy phonenaps 12-year-old's iPhone. Daughter calls mommy (divorced from daddy), whose new hubby happens to work for the local police. Officers promptly arrive at the scene of the "crime" and demand daddy return his baby's beloved iPhone. When he refuses, daddy's charged with theft and hit with a fine.

Two years and whole lot of money and court appearances later, daddy's acquitted, according to a recent CNet report — but not before the family is left in shambles. All because of a then 3-year-old iPhone, that in all likelihood had a cracked display. (OK, there may have been some other issues festering in that family, but the iPhone thing makes for a better headline, and all 12-year-olds have phones with cracked screens.)

When all was said and done, daddy, one Ronald Jackson of Grand Prairie, Texas, had decided his pride (and the now years old iPhone) were worth more than familial relations. Today, he still has that iPhone. He's free and clear of the theft charge but he wants nothing to do with his wife or daughter, he told local North Texas ABC News affiliate WFAA.

It's a like a bad episode of Jerry Springer, with fewer pregnant cross-dressers and an outdated iPhone. Of course, Apple and its iPhone 4 aren't really to blame, and the story is as old as the Internet is depraved; child get stuck between spiteful divorced parents, parents displace and direct anger at child, endless drama ensues. (How much do you want to bet the texts that caused this whole fracas somehow related to mommy, daddy and/or step daddy?)

Still, the next time you consider taking away your kid's iPhone, be sure to specify that if they call the cops, they may never see the phone (or you) again.


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