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Crime Handhelds Iphone

Death Wish Meets GPS: iPhone Theft Victims Confronting Perps 664

Posted by timothy
from the charles-bronson-not-involved dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Thankfully, no one's gone full-Charles-Bronson yet, but the NY Times reports that victims of smartphone theft are using GPS to take the law into their own hands, paying visits to thieves' homes and demanding the return of their stolen phones. "The emergence of this kind of do-it-yourself justice," writes Ian Lovett, "has stirred worries among law enforcement officials that people are putting themselves in danger, taking disproportionate risks for the sake of an easily replaced item." And while hitting "Find My iPhone" can take you to a thief's doorstep, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith urges resisting the impulse to do so. "It's just a phone," he said. "it's not worth losing your life over. Let police officers take care of it. We have backup, guns, radio, jackets — all that stuff civilians don't have.""
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Death Wish Meets GPS: iPhone Theft Victims Confronting Perps

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  • frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:38AM (#46912963)
    Yes, police have all that stuff. On the other hand, they don't give a shit about your iphone being stolen, and will likely never investigate.
    • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tmosley (996283) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:43AM (#46913005)
      Exactly. Hand them all the information of a silver platter and they do nothing.

      Police are scum. From personal experience as a victim of more than one instance of theft.
      • by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:10PM (#46913183)
        Unfortunately that sign on their car door "To serve and protect", they serve and protect the state. Getting back your iPhone does little to serve and protect the state.
        • by sycodon (149926) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:38PM (#46913333)

          "To Protect Our Asses by Shooting Yours First"

        • by catmistake (814204) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:41PM (#46916431) Journal

          Unfortunately that sign on their car door "To serve and protect", they serve and protect the state. Getting back your iPhone does little to serve and protect the state.

          I don't like making generalized statements, however, and shame on me if the description doesn't fit, I'm about to do so. And I don't mean to even criticize the Police in general, because among their ranks are everyday heros and legitimate true, ready to lay down their lives, heros. But to make an observation that I'm sure others have noticed, that even though police

          have backup, guns, radio, jackets — all that stuff civilians don't have

          it seems at times the choices that the individual police officers we hear about are neither motivated by duty to protect the public nor the state, but themselves first and foremost. Speaking as a coward, fear of injury/death and self-preservation are instincts that are not easily overcome, but members of various US Special Forces and Military, firefighters and deep water and swift water rescue teams, perhaps out of bravado (but so what?), seem to have little trouble doing so. What is it about police duty that makes them less heroically suicidal than those that choose these other careers, when one should expect the vocation to attract the very brave and incorruptable, and those as close to real "superheros" as we can get, like the other vocations I mentioned?

          For those civilians that carry weapons for self-defense, no one should have to remind you that the origin of your right to do so was originally one of selflessness, i.e. to protect your defenseless neighbors at risk to your own life or property, either from raiding parties, foreign enemies, crime, or the government. I also would like to emphatically applaud the unarmed bystanders that bravely risked their lives to save a Memphis Police officer today. [kentucky.com] That is amazing to me... because I just know I would have been running away from obvious danger, and not towards it, as fast as my feet could carry me. And I would not be proud of myself for surviving.

          FWIW, material items are definately not worth even risking injury over, let alone risking life. But another life, or multiple lives is worth that risk, and we know this because we have a word for people like that and you probably noticed me using it a lot, and I do because I am facinated by... our heros.

          • Yet these "heroes" seem to have plenty of time to sit idle on the freeway ALL DAY booking people for not aligning the number on their vehicle's speedometer with the number on a sign on the side of the road.
      • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:13PM (#46913207)

        I think iPhones are treated like bicycles -- something that there just are not the resources for, even if the purported thief is nailed down to a location.

        As a devil's advocate, US police are woefully underfunded. They might get a bunch of SWAT stuff from the government, but actual basic policing, substations, and other items needed to process all but murders and attempted murders are not funded. Most cities are far more interested in making sure the professional sport league has the latest and greatest stadium so they won't move to a city that would. So, blame the city councils that deny adequate funding to city services, not the people who have to decide between catching the perps from a drive-by shooting versus some guy who lost his cellphone.

        • Re: frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

          by macinnisrr (1103805) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:21PM (#46913253)
          That's a copout (no pun intended). If you give police the location of your phone, it's probably less than an hour's worth of work for two of them to track it down and get it back. As long as there are two cops on duty, it's simply lazy to not track it down. They don't seem to have any issues with setting speed traps and handing out seatbelt tickets.
          • bonus (Score:5, Informative)

            by phorm (591458) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:45PM (#46913369) Journal

            Except that the guy who "only stole an iPhone" probably did a lot more. When cops do investigat such things, they also tend to find further crime such as:
            * troves of stolen goods
            * stolen/duplicated credit cards
            * drugs
            * links to other criminals and/or organized crime

            • Re:bonus (Score:5, Informative)

              by Immerman (2627577) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @02:36PM (#46914143)

              If that were the case then wouldn't it be a *good* thing? It should be really easy to get a warrant to search the current location of a stolen cell phone, so they just got some more serious offenders handed to them on a silver platter.

          • How did you get that location? Did you break any laws to get it? How does the cop know? Is there a chain of custody for that information? Are they indemnified if they act on your info, which turns out to be wrong because your iPhone's GPS went on the fritz?

            You have to accept that we dont live in a simple world. It's "simple" to go down and get your phone, its a lot more complicated to get a judge to agree that the info you have is worth A) his time and B) a warrant.

            • Re: frosty piss (Score:5, Interesting)

              by rickb928 (945187) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @04:07PM (#46914765) Homepage Journal

              My wife had her purse stolen last year by a student. We sat down in her principal's office, located it, and the police officer recognized the address immediately. 20 minutes later. The perp was telling the office where the rest of the contents of the purse had been dumped. In this case, the alternative was to go back to jail, which the kids did anyways. Parole violation.

              But the office let slip that the department already knew how to locate iPhones even without the owner's knowledge. Perhaps we could hold the trial on chain of evidence right after the drug case where the police tracked everyone by their phones. Though in hindsight the police do make a habit of having it both ways.

          • Re: frosty piss (Score:5, Interesting)

            by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @05:20PM (#46915171)

            Police in the US often have very, very local funding sources: Asset seizures and fines go into the police budget. That creates a strong incentive to prosecute crimes that are cheap to catch and lucrative in income - with speeding being at the very top of that. Low- and mid-level drugs crime is also popular because it often leads to vehicle and property seizures.

        • Re:frosty piss (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:35PM (#46913315)

          "US police are woefully underfunded"

          Yea? Like schools are underfunded? Do you have any idea how much of my money the state confiscates every year? Not to mention all the traffic fines and confiscated crime booty (cash, cars, guns.. who knows what all else).

          These people have money coming out of their ears, and no doubt could do their job with a lot less.

          Not to mention the police union that secures high pay and fabulous retirement packages. How about all the cops earning time and a half by sitting their fat donut eating asses on the side of a road wherever you see construction in many states, again thank the uniuons.

          They are underfunded? Bull fucking shit asshole. I am underfunded, bacause the statist steals entirely too much of MY MONEY.

          Idiot.

          • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

            by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @02:17PM (#46914019)
            Do you have any idea where most of that money goes? Military, keeping old people alive (which, assuming you don't have the balls to start killing ppl at age 60 is a good thing) and corporate welfare.

            Why don't you stop worrying about the state taking all your money and start asking why your wages have been in decline for 30 ever-lovin' years. Why don't you ask why it is your worse off than your parents? Why don't you ask why income inequality is at levels not seen since the 1920s?

            Why? Because it's super easy to look at your withholding and see that. Heck, you can also lump your health insurance and any Uniform allowance into that too (most Americans do) and blame the gov't. What you can't see ( unless you go looking for it ) is where all the wealth in this country is really going. You can't see who's really robbing you blind...
        • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

          by pete6677 (681676) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:47PM (#46913397)

          In the United States, Police (and schools for that matter) have huge budgets, but too little of that money makes it to the front lines. Administrators soak most of it up, and any further funding increases go straight to the top. Only the bare minimum flows to the bottom where it's needed most. This is the problem with the "more money for police" and "more money for education" crowd.

          • If you really want to freak out, take a look at how much money municipalities pay for police pensions. It's not the administrators that are munching the budget, it's the retirees.

            • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn@earthlin k . n et> on Sunday May 04, 2014 @04:14PM (#46914795)

              If the police were doing their purported job, then those pensions would have been well earned. And should have been expensed while the officers were serving (except in the case of medical retirements, which justifiably need funding after the retirement).

              That I don't feel they are doing their job doesn't mean that I think that the retirements should be eliminated, it means that I think the officers in question should be fired for cause. It frequently means that I also think they should be prosecuted for various crimes in addition to either misfeasance or malfeasance. (Which various crimes obviously depends on what the officer did.)

        • Re:frosty piss (Score:4, Informative)

          by aurizon (122550) <bill.jackson@gEU ... m minus math_god> on Sunday May 04, 2014 @01:37PM (#46913727)

          I think iPhones are treated like bicycles -- something that there just are not the resources for, even if the purported thief is nailed down to a location.

          As a devil's advocate, US police are woefully underfunded. They might get a bunch of SWAT stuff from the government, but actual basic policing, substations, and other items needed to process all but murders and attempted murders are not funded. Most cities are far more interested in making sure the professional sport league has the latest and greatest stadium so they won't move to a city that would. So, blame the city councils that deny adequate funding to city services, not the people who have to decide between catching the perps from a drive-by shooting versus some guy who lost his cellphone.

          Police forces have become infected by unionism combined with lawyerism. The unionism has ramped uo wages by 5-6% (with inflation included at 3%) for the past 40 years. Now in Toronto most police collect over $100,000 wages and benefits, some as much as $150,000.
          The lawyerism has also increased the documentary load on officers as well as the evidentiary load to the point that the number of cases handled per officer has declined at about 3-4% per year.
          Too few police, paid too much, too little time = "Case Triage" - a strong need to cull the caseload by tossing cases. They also must try to look as if they are working hard, so they go after a lof ow "low hanging fruit", parking tickets, stop signs, red lights and the like that are low risk compared to facing armed crack dealers - that might hurt...

        • by Bengie (1121981)
          iPhones are worth as much as the minimum property value damage during a vehicular accident that requires a police officer. Someone love taps my car, and I have to wait around for a police officer, otherwise I could also get in trouble, but someone steals a phone and police don't care? Phone theft should be treated at least as important as a hit-and-run with a vehicle that involves $700+ worth of damage.
        • by NoKaOi (1415755)

          I think iPhones are treated like bicycles -- something that there just are not the resources for, even if the purported thief is nailed down to a location...As a devil's advocate, US police are woefully underfunded.

          Even if that's true, is very short sighted. If you report your phone stolen, then they have to devote resources to filling out that report. If they start busting phone thieves it's extra work upfront, but there will be fewer future reports to fill out both because you bust the thief who is going to keep stealing, and because you discourage others. Oh yeah, and then there's the fact that it's their job to enforce the law.

          When I had my phone stolen, I did all the legwork (it was quite a bit more involved t

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:37PM (#46913325)

        Tell them there are copyrighted mp3's on the phone. Voila! The SWAT team will be sent in to get your phone.

    • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ganjadude (952775) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:48AM (#46913047) Homepage
      I remember a time when I had a 2800$ laptop stolen a number of years ago id say around 2003. I knew who did it, I had proof of him bragging about it, and i brought this to the cops who promptly did jack shit about it. In the end I got my laptop back, and some...interest on top. the person who stole it from me? I cant be sure but I highly doubt he stole from anyone again

      long story short, cops these days dont give a flying fuck about helping us with crime, all they care about is keeping the money rolling in
      • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:43PM (#46913363)

        we have a for-profit private prison INDUSTRY in the US.

        anyone who thinks this is a good idea, raise your hand.

    • by frovingslosh (582462) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:59AM (#46913121)
      Dead on. The police could do their jobs and get the phone and even take a crook of the streets at the same time. Instead if a location of a stolen phone is reported they just brush it off and tell you that your $500+ item is "easily replaceable" and that you should forget about all of the personal stuff on it. They can't be bothered. I wonder why people respect police less and less every day. I'm surprised that they don't point out that while the police have guns and all that other stuff, and the bad guys likely have guns, in many states the victims don't have guns because the laws prevent it. And prevent you from even having bullet proof vests too!
      • by Zumbs (1241138)
        What about the other part of the police officers statement? Do you really want to risk your life over an inanimate object?
        • by ganjadude (952775) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:11PM (#46913191) Homepage
          that depends on the data that is on the phone and how big a risk it is, If i track my phone with GPS to a local high school, yeah ill go to the school and have the principal confront him

          If its at a place of business, Ill trace it there and have a nice chat with a boss about his employee being a thief

          If i see its in the middle of compton in a known gang area, i probably will not go there to get it
    • Re:frosty piss (Score:4, Insightful)

      by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:00PM (#46913133)

      On the other other hand...

      So you've got a thing that says your iPhone is at a particular location.

      What is that thing? Can its data be trusted? Does it truly show your iPhone, or somebody else's, or something else entirely? Is that actually the address, or is it the other address right next door? Be thankful if it's not an apartment building, 'cos then floors get involved - good luck getting a warrant for all of them. Oh, didn't mention warrants yet, did I? Yeah, that's right, even if your 'find my iphone' is just pointing to a location in the middle of nowhere and there's only one person there, cops can't just demand that they empty out all their pockets; I'm sure most people here would tell the cop to either please vacate themselves or take you in if they feel they have enough cause to do so, when the lead is that "somebody's computer says". And all that at the lowly sum of $ka-ching/hour.

      On the other other other hand, you file the report, you file the insurance claim, you walk into an Apple Store, get a new device (those scratches and dents you put into it the other one? gone! it's magic!), get most of your data back off the cloud, and be off and running. You 'win', the thief wins, the cops win, the insurance company wins, and Apple wins.

      Somebody amend wit more hands...

      Note that I'm not saying that cops couldn't do more, and shouldn't do more - hell, if it was as easy for them as it is for the general public to just walk up to someplace and go "you've got this person's iPhone, you best be handing it back now or there'll be trouble", I'd say they should follow up on every stolen phone, tablet, bicycle, etc. Unfortunately it's not - which also leads me to agreeing that it's fine if they warn people about potential consequences, but they can't exactly complain that people are taking matters into their own hands.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        On the other other other hand, you file the report, you file the insurance claim, you walk into an Apple Store, get a new device, get most of your data back off the cloud, and be off and running.

        In what twisted universe is that "winning"? I get how the thief wins, how apple wins, how the cops win, I even get how the insurance companies win (higher premiums, yet another price to be paid by the victim), I just don't see the winning of the victim.

        Are you deluded?

      • Re:frosty piss (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) * on Sunday May 04, 2014 @01:37PM (#46913733)

        you file the insurance claim

        No you don't, because your insurance deductible is higher than the cost of the phone. That $500 loss is real and uncompensated.

      • Re:frosty piss (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Rich0 (548339) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @02:02PM (#46913897) Homepage

        And all that at the lowly sum of $ka-ching/hour.

        I don't really buy the whole cost of enforcement argument.

        Enforcing the law almost always costs more than the actual crimes do when looked at in isolation. However, enforcing the law is still important, because it can prevent crime.

        If everybody knows that you can rob somebody in broad daylight and nobody will do anything about it, then society will rapidly devolve into crime and vigilantism. On the other hand, if everybody knew that even stealing a piece of candy from a store would result in a near-certainty of arrest, then you'd see almost all crime go away. People commit crimes because they perceive the reward as being greater than the risk.

        So, by spending $8k to recover a $500 phone and make the life of the guy who stole it miserable can go a long way to preventing phone theft. Do that thoroughly enough, and suddenly you don't find yourself having to spend all that much money on enforcement because people stop breaking the law.

        Of course, for phones there is a simpler and cheaper technological solution and that is IMEI blacklisting. However, the argument still stands for other forms of petty crime. If I were in charge and somebody reported their radio stolen from their car, I'd dust the car for prints, check camera footage, and when I track down the teenager who stole the phone they'd be showing up at a labor camp for 6 hours a day for two years, while attending classes to learn something productive for another 4 hours a day, and then they'd be sent home with a monitoring anklet and an MRE in payment for their labor. Sure, it would cost more than just letting them play loose on the street, but taxpayers would save money on repairs, and maybe society would benefit from more skilled laborers and fewer leaches.

      • by sjames (1099)

        They dial the number which the phone company verifies is the complainant's number, listen for the ring. There's the exact location and probable cause in one neat package.

        They'll probably solve a lot more crimes at the same time. If you want to find thieves, go to where all the stolen goods are.

    • Re:frosty piss (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:02PM (#46913139)

      Yes, police have all that stuff. On the other hand, they don't give a shit about your iphone being stolen, and will likely never investigate.

      Exactly. This problem is caused by the complete lack of action by police if the problem isn't drug related. The department knows how they get funds and that's by busting drug offenders. They get to keep a percentage of the spoils as well as bonuses per arrest. Drug arrests are very very easy. Busting a guy that stole a phone could take hours. Can't have that.

    • Re:frosty piss (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:04PM (#46913149)

      A friend's iPhone was stolen - Find My iPhone located it... we called the police and they promptly visited the home and had the phone returned to its rightful owner. This was in San Fernando Valley, so perhaps the police are friendlier to such victims than in your area?

      • by xevioso (598654)

        Right, and in fact this scenario happens all the time. There's a ton of people here bashing cops, but in the real world, iPhones do get returned if the cops are able to locate the perp. As far as statiistics go, we don't really know what percentages of iPhone thefts reports go unsolved, and it probably varies widely in certain areas.

    • by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @01:02PM (#46913513)

      This is why I always keep pirated media and a bittorrent client that I can remotely activate on my phone. If it ever gets stolen, I won't bother the local police, I'll just activate the client and call the FBI.

  • because as he said, it's just a phone. Not that confronting the perpetrator is a great idea, but don't expect the full CSI treatment when you report the theft.
    • by bitt3n (941736) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:51AM (#46913069)

      Not that confronting the perpetrator is a great idea, but don't expect the full CSI treatment when you report the theft.

      Actually, confronting the perp is the best way to get the full CSI treatment. If you're lucky, they might even pull up your dental records to conclusively ID your remains.

    • Escalation (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Roger W Moore (538166) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:18PM (#46913233) Journal

      Police often wont take care of it...because as he said, it's just a phone.

      Today it's a phone, tomorrow it's a laptop and by next week it's an armed robbery of an electronics store. I can understand that the police do not have the resources to track down every petty criminal but when confronted with clear evidence where the criminal is they have a duty to act. It is not only a fantastic public relations opportunity ("I went to the police and they caught the criminal one hour later") it also looks good for the crime statistics and it helps to reduce future crime since many phone thefts are probably opportunistic criminals who, if not caught, will carry on with their experiment to see how many phones/laptops/etc. they can steal before it crosses the police action threshold.

  • by Webs 101 (798265) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:39AM (#46912977) Homepage

    "We have backup, guns, radio, jackets — all that stuff civilians don't have."

    They forgot to list apathy.

  • A friend of mine was recently mugged, on the doorstep of her home. While the police were in her house asking questions she pulled up the current location of her phone on her laptop. The police did not care. Did. Not. Care. For an hour her phone drifted around a park that was a known after-hours teenager hangout, while the officer asked inane questions. She fumed for weeks. Getting mugged was bad enough, but feeling like the police didn't really care, that all they wanted to do was get the report filled out, made her feel truly helpless.

    If the police are unwilling to react to these thefts because they are low priority for them, they have to expect that citizens will have to take it into their own hands. People don't like someone else telling them their problems are trivial. People don't like feeling helpless. They need to believe that there is always something they can do.

    • In a 'normal' country you first would politely point out to the police men that you will sue them, and if they they don't react on that you actually do sue them. My dictionary tells me that is called 'failure to act', not sure if it is the right term.
      Police officers don't like to have a 'failure to act' accusion in their personal records/files. (Well, I have personally very good experiences with the police, the few times I needed them they reacted promptly and extremly professional)

      • by mysidia (191772)

        Under the current public duty doctrine (duty to all, duty to no-one); failure to act is not an actionable offense [policeone.com]

        Courts typically find that no duty has been established and deny recovery for “injuries caused by the failure of police personnel to respond to requests for assistance, the failure to investigate properly, or the failure to investigate at all, where the police had not induced reliance on a promise, express or implied, that they would provide protection.”16For example, a plaintiff wa

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:46AM (#46913021)

    From apathy on the side of the police, that is.

    If the police at least tried to get my possessions back, would I bother going myself? Hell no. As the article said, why risk it? That's the police's job, they not only have the training and equipment, they also have the backing of the law.

    Vigilantes only emerge when the police drops the ball. Only when there is no other way to get justice, people will take justice into their own hands. That's why a state has to be careful to keep its laws and its law enforcement in sync with what their population considers just. People will only take the law into their own hands if you, as a government, fail.

  • by Oysterville (2944937) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:47AM (#46913039)
    We all know that the police generally don't put a high priority on retrieving lost smart phones. So, if someone ever absconds with my smart phone and I use the app that I have on it to track it down, I will simply call the local sheriff's office and tell them that I have located my phone, give them the address, and tell them that in 10 minutes I will be going in locked and loaded to retrieve it. That should give them sufficient time to prevent a more serious crime from taking place.
  • by khchung (462899) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:49AM (#46913059) Journal

    Let police officers take care of it. We have backup, guns, radio, jackets — all that stuff civilians don't have.

    But obviously civilians have one thing the police officers don't - the WILL to take action.

    If the police have been taking these thefts seriously and had sent officers to thief's home instead, then no one would be foolish enough to do it himself.

    Yes, it is foolish to confront the thief at his home. What do you think would happen? "Ha ha, you got me, here's your phone."? More likely is the thief would know giving you the phone just proved he stolen your stuff, and now you know where to lead the police to him, thief would be thinking how is he going to silence you?

    Maybe after the first few fools got killed, the police will finally take a visit to the locations of stolen phones?

  • by MasseKid (1294554) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:58AM (#46913111)
    They say let the cops handle it, yet the cops WON'T go arrest these guys even if you give them the same GPS info. This happens out of frustration from the uselessness of the police to act in these scenarios, not because they think it's the best course of action.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:07PM (#46913163) Journal

    ... you could do what this guy did [evanwashere.com].

  • LAPD apathy (Score:5, Informative)

    by prehistoricman5 (1539099) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:10PM (#46913185)

    My sister's friend had her phone stolen recently and when she called the LAPD about it, they also refused to do anything about it and pretty much told her that it was not their policy to go chasing after stolen phones. She later attempted to confront the fence that stole her phone and ultimately was unsuccessful in recovering her phone.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:18PM (#46913229)

    "and risk the life of an officer." That was the answer from the San Diego police department when my friend's sone lost his iPhone in a major hotel out of the dining room.

    My friend is an attorney involved in major San Diego port affairs. Made no diff. "We don't go into that barrio without a SWAT team."

  • Then... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mbone (558574) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:30PM (#46913293)

    "It's just a phone," he said. "it's not worth losing your life over.

    Then why do they have guys with guns guarding banks and jewelry stores?

  • by Max Threshold (540114) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:32PM (#46913301)
    Then take care of it, you worthless fucks.
  • by maliqua (1316471) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @01:20PM (#46913617)

    And while hitting "Find My iPhone" can take you to a thief's doorstep, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith urges resisting the impulse to do so. "It's just a phone," he said.

    Citizens urge police to do their fucking jobs so we don't have to do it ourselves.

  • by cyberfringe (641163) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:07PM (#46916285) Journal
    My backpack was stolen at Orlando airport while I was distracted. It contained my iPad, Macbook Air and a ton of other really good stuff. For various reasons I won't list here, we didn't discover it missing until we returned home. I used Find My iPhone and within ½ hour got a hit and the address when the thief turned on the iPad. Once I was sure he was not moving, I sent the commands to wipe everything. There is a story to tell about find the "right" police to report the crime to, which can be tough when the theft occurred at an airport, in one county, and the perp is in an adjacent county and you live in yet a third county. I made literally 24 calls to multiple police agencies and at multiple points was told, "do you know how many calls we get like this every single day?". Apparently, hundreds. As a rule, the police have bigger crooks to catch. I decided to make a huge fuss, invoking DHS, FBI and everything else I could think of. Finally, I hit on the right strategy. I had been telling the (multiple) police officers I talked with that I was going to get in my car and confront the guy, and they ALL thought that was a really bad idea. Maybe I felt like doing that but --- I'm NOT stupid, OK? -- but it was a good negotiating ploy. I told them I would be there in an hour and so they finally connected me with a deputy sheriff, in his patrol car and not too far from the perp's location. I guess he was convinced I was on my way and likely to get really really hurt, so I allowed him to talk me out of going to the house in exchange for a promise to visit it at dawn. He kept his word. An older woman answered the door. Here is the conversation: "Were you at the airport last night?" "No, my son went to pick up his girlfriend". "Is he here" "Yes, he's asleep" "Is that his car in the driveway?" "No, that's my car" "Mind if I have a look?" "Go right ahead." THE SHERIFF FOUND MY IPAD AND AIR! (But not the backpack). A few days later I had them back. After weeks of more wrangling and assuring the district attorney I would prosecute, the perp was arrested. Six months later, they have not tried him (yet). Bottom line: mixed results which I only gained by being both a pain in the ass to three law enforcement departments all night long, including convincing them I was going to get in a situation where something REALLY bad would happen and they would have to deal with it. I don't recommend this approach. The lesson: it is highly unlikely that the police will do anything. I was lucky. I recommend checking out a service called "Witness" at wittnessapp.com . They have some great ideas for security and will help you with all this (dealing with police) in the event your equipment is stolen. I hope never to have to use their service but now I'm better prepared.

"Someone's been mean to you! Tell me who it is, so I can punch him tastefully." -- Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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