It is my impression that USA promotes detective movies, novels and TV shows. At least it has a wide sample of that genre. Then when I read the article of “how to catch an iPhone thief” I could say the fact that happens in the USA and in CA, makes it just the perfect location.
Actually, if I want to look at it as a game definitely all the “pervasive games” and ARG could follow this interesting real-event that really put the “player” in action, and learn from it. This is what I call motivation, creativity and use of your skills and knowledge to recover what belongs to you.