It’s 3:20 pm, and I’m facing the most surreal iPhone episode I’ve ever been stuck in. It’s like quicksand. I feel like Sterling Hayden in The Asphalt Jungle as he’s driving back to Kentucky with Jean Hagen.

As mentioned, my iPhone 6 Plus was stolen yesterday. Last night I bought an iPhone 8 Plus, but now I can’t use the damn thing because of a two-step verification process that’s part of the 8 Plus software. Owners are required to input their Apple ID and password (no prob), and then a six-digit passcode that Apple would normally text me. However, the thief who stole my iPhone has also hacked into it, and given it a new phone # or SIM card, and he’s the one who’s receiving the six-digit code from Apple, not me. Somehow this d-bag has convinced Apple that he’s me. Apple believes that his phone # is one of my trusted devices.

Notification emails from Apple tell me that the last two digits of the thief’s phone # are “14” plus that his initials are “S S.” No use of periods tells you he’s not well educated. If he called himself “SS” it could be interpreted as a perverse Nazi thing, but no.

Believe it or not four Apple senior-level techies have tried to crack this problem, but the last guy told me I’m out of luck. Me: “What do you mean I’m ‘out of luck‘? Are you telling me to return the phone and become an Android person?”

As I mentioned the only suggested Apple solution is to dump my Apple ID and password, but that would be horrible in terms of being unable to synch all my photos, music, notes and whatnot. This is starting to feel catastrophic. I’ve spent the last two and a half hours writing iPhone hackers (shady guys who will only accept Bitcoin payment) and talking to a couple of private investigators who might know how to sidestep this two-step verification, six-digit-input process.

HE to thief (a.k.a. “S S“): “I know you’re going to keep my iPhone 6 Plus and that I’ll most likely never hear from you, but I just need that six-digit code. Email or text it to me — hell, post it on the comment thread — and I’ll be out of this awful situation. You’re several hundred bucks richer with your new stolen iPhone, right? Do me this small favor and I’ll forget about trying to hunt you down. Seriously.”