Nadav Nirenberg, a Sabra who lives in Brooklyn, works as a musician – but he offered a lesson the other day of which biblical scholars would approve.
If his name sounds familiar, you probably heard or read it on the networks, the Today Show, AP, or news stories from Israel, Australia, Canada, England and China.
All because he lost his iPhone on New Year’s Eve.
When Nirenberg, 27, a resident of Park Slope, discovered his phone missing, he called the number. “It was immediately turned off,” he told Fox News. “The dude” – who either stole or found Nirenberg’s property – “was clearly keeping it.”
Nirenberg noticed that the new owner of his iPhone was posting on his OKCupid account, an online dating service, using Nirenberg’s photo.
Nirenberg decided to use OKCupid to retrieve his phone.
Using a photo of an attractive woman he lifted from Google Images, he created a false identity of “a 24-year-old girl who just moved to Brooklyn and [was] looking for a man to take her out.”
“Got my stolen phone back by SEDUCING THE THIEF,” Nirenberg boasted on nadavnirenberg.blogspot.com. The thief, taking the bait, was lured to Nirenberg’s apartment, ready for “a relaxing bottle of wine and a good time.”
Nirenberg (facebook.com/nadav.nirenberg) headed off the creep in the hallway, armed with a $20 bill and a hammer. Nirenberg offered $20 for his phone. He said the cops were on their way. The thief gave up the phone and ran away.
Nirenberg’s modus operandi had firm grounding in Jewish tradition. Based on the biblical story of Jacob’s tenuous reunion with brother Esau after a separation of some two decades, the rabbis recommend a three-way approach to dealing with powerful authorities – or, in this case, a single gonif: offer flattery, offer bribes, and prepare for war.
Nirenberg did all three. Flattery: he chatted up the creep online. “We chatted for hours and he never seemed dangerous at all, just naïve/inept/lonely … Flirting with this dude on OKCupid as a girl was weird as hell,” Nirenberg wrote on his blog. Bribery: the folding green with Andrew Jackson’s portrait. “A peace offering.” Warfare: the hammer. “The hammer was in case he was insane … I never threatened him.”
“The whole thing,” Nirenberg, lasted 10-15 seconds.”
His 15 minutes of fame lasted several days. The world media called. “I regret feeding into it,” he wrote,” but as a musician” – trombone, sousaphone – “I feel I need to take advantage of this momentary attention.”
Now, Nirenberg’s taking better care of his iPhone.