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Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, said a 20-year-old man’s phone, acoustic guitar, Macbook computer and hair straighteners were stolen from a Clyde St property he was visiting at the weekend.
He used a Find My iPhone application to track his phone to an address in Walter St, The Glen, and knocked on the door.
After an argument, he got his phone back, then contacted police about the stolen goods.
Police recovered other items that were allegedly stolen by a 38-year-old man, Snr Sgt Dinnissen said.
Inquiries were continuing.
He said people should pass information on to the police rather than take matters into their own hands.
"It's our job ... They're putting themselves in danger."
"It might be a $1600 phone, but that's all it is.