Undercover Police Are Trying To Get Rid Of iPhone Theft By Targeting Buyers

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iPhone theft has become a huge problem. Mayor Bloomberg says if it weren’t for Apple’s shiny devices getting stolen so frequently, crime in NYC would have gone down slightly in 2012.

Despite the best efforts of the boys in blue, catching iPhone thieves is hard work. Police really haven’t gotten too much better at it, so they’re changing their target. To get iPhone thieves off the streets, cops in San Francisco are trying a new tactic: rather than waiting around on subways trying to catch thieves in the act of stealing iPhones, The Fuzz has started trapping the buyers of stolen iPhones.

Dressed as regular citizens, San Francisco police officers have started conducting sting operations around the city to bust people buying stolen iPhones. The goal is to reduce iPhone theft by destroying the black-market for the goods. If people are too scared to buy a stolen iPhone, then maybe the thieves will just stop stealing them. At least that’s the police’s hope.

During the sting operations the police will approach potential buyers in areas of the city that are notorious for selling stolen goods. For the operation to be legal, police officers must have the potential customers name their own price. The officers clearly state that the phones have been stolen and then once an offer is made from a buyer, a pair of undercover cops waiting nearby come swooping in and arrest the buyer.

Whether this approach will actually work is hard to say. New York City Police have begun similar operations, but the NYPD is now facing a lawsuit in which a buyer says they were pressured and baited by the police. Many have argued that the police are just creating more and hurting people who didn’t have an intent to commit a crime. However, the police say that the new method is effective so far, we’ll just have to wait a while to see how well it works.

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  • lwdesign1

    Anyone who would knowingly buy a stolen phone (or any other item) already has a criminal mindset. If you found an iPhone on the street, would you simply keep it or would you try to find out whose it is and return it to them? Your answer determines your ethics level and whether you have a criminal or social mindset. A social person knows that property is owned by someone and takes appropriate action. A criminal has no regard for ownership of property, and therefore theft is completely OK.

  • NewTexianBrew

    The cops, politicians and bureaucrats are idiots…

  • HerbalEd

    I have mixed feelings here. Yes, the person is being set up, but they’ve also been informed that the phone is stolen … and they set their own price.

    I think with proper wording by the police, with no enticement or pressure, and a video/audio recording of the transaction to assure this, the “buyer” is fair game … but only when he/she actually hands over the money.

    Who knows … before money actually changes hands … maybe, just maybe … the would-be-buyer will suddenly get religion and not buy. We’ve all been tempted to do wrong, right? B it’s not so terrible to be tempted … it’s the actual doing that’s the sin.

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Social Media Editor. Hailing from Roswell, New Mexico, but now spending his days in Phoenix, Arizona, he wastes most of his time eating burritos and reading Spanish romance novels. Twitter: @bst3r.

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