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Crime Handhelds Iphone

Death Wish Meets GPS: iPhone Theft Victims Confronting Perps 664

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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  • by uslurper ( 459546 ) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:44AM (#46913009)

    Police cannot do anything.
    They need a warrant to enter a home and they cannot get one.

  • 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 roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:07PM (#46913163) Journal

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

  • 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.
  • 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 Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:26PM (#46913275)

    A few years ago, I had a car stolen right out of my gated/locked driveway in NJ (cue the Jersey jokes). It wasn't an expensive car, but still worth about US$10k. When I reported it stolen and informed the police where they could ask for surveillance video that would likely show the crime and culprit, they treated me like a nuisance and never investigated the crime. I know they never investigated because the owner of the surveillance cam was never even contacted, even when I followed up with the cops a couple of times. The insurance company just paid out immediately and the adjuster said the odds of ever seeing the car again when stolen from northern NJ was almost zero.

    So I can only chuckle when I'm told that the cops will show even a cursory interest in helping someone recover a phone, even if the EXACT location is known.

  • Bzzt! Wrong! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:30PM (#46913291)

    In the rest of the world a stolen smartphone will get bricked, but carriers are working against that in the US.

    The USA has had a stolen phone blacklist for quite some time now. You can check if a phone is blacklisted here []. Carriers will also ban a phone from their own network if the owner defaults on their service contract or handset finance agreement.

    Phones are still stolen because:

    1. Some phones can have their IMEI altered (illegal, but we're talking about criminals in the first place).
    2. They can be sold overseas.
    3. They can be sold to fools right here in the USA who don't know there's an IMEI blacklist and that they're buying a useless "brick".
    4. They have value as parts.
    5. Not everything criminal steals needs a logical reason. Some of these low-lives are so trashed on drugs they aren't thinking much beyond "take everything I can grab, sell, buy more drugs."

  • 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:frosty piss (Score:4, Informative)

    by aurizon ( 122550 ) <bill.jackson@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> 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 dryeo ( 100693 ) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @02:11PM (#46913967)

    Why the fuck are police getting financed by speeding tickets? That's one of the big problems, underfunding forcing the cops to spend their time making sure there is enough funding to pay them. Same problem with the other ways police are forced to get funding such as civil forfeiture.

  • 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.

Reactor error - core dumped!