An Amazon Echo Spot that was allegedly stolen from its buyer’s front door shortly after being delivered has been reunited with its owner after the alleged thief received a call from the owner through Alexa’s Drop-In feature. A Reddit user, who goes by the adorable name of PokiestPuppy, has shared details of the incident with fellow Alexa customers and is still on the hunt for the alleged thief with recordings of their voice and WiFi information in hand.
The Echo Spot buyer purchased the Alexa device, along with a bundled Wyze camera, as a gift for their brother to use as a baby monitor. Before actually taking possession of their purchase, the buyer was alerted of its theft when they received an automated email from Amazon thanking them for setting up their new Echo Spot.
When a customer purchases an Amazon device directly from Amazon, using their Amazon account, the device arrives pre-registered to the customer. This makes the setup process a lot smoother, since you don’t need to log into the device. Pre-registration can be avoided by specifying that the device will be a gift during checkout, but the buyer of this particular Echo Spot did not do that. This meant that once the device was connected to the internet, it was already linked to the buyer’s Amazon account.
It appears as though the alleged thief connected the Echo Spot to their own WiFi and began using it without realizing that it was linked to the buyer’s Amazon account. When the buyer received Amazon’s welcome email, they acted on one of the email’s suggestions of trying Alexa’s Drop-In feature which allows customers to place video calls between their own Echo devices, without anyone on the receiving end needing to answer the call. Since the Echo Spot was still linked to the buyer’s Amazon account, the Drop-In call went right through to the thief and was automatically answered, as it’s designed to do to act as an intercom in one’s own home.
Details of the call are unknown, but the alleged thief was presumably unhappy with their new stolen gadget talking to them. About 15 minutes after the call, the now slightly used Echo Spot appeared back on the buyer’s doorstep in its opened box.
The rightful owner now has their Echo Spot back, along with recordings of the alleged thief making Alexa requests, thanks to the recording history that Amazon stores in the cloud. The owner also has the alleged thief’s WiFi network name, since it was still stored in the Echo Spot’s WiFi settings. The Echo Spot owner tells me they’ll be walking the halls of their apartment building later today, where they suspect the alleged thief also lives, listening for familiar sounds heard on the Alexa recordings.