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Police Arrest 141 New York City Merchants in Stolen iPhone Sting


The New York Post reports that a sting conducted by the New York Police Department last week targeting vendors suspected of selling stolen iPhones resulted in 141 arrests as the city works to cut down the market feeding on such thefts. According to the report, undercover officers approached workers at over 600 locations suspected of participating in sales of stolen iPhones and offered the devices to workers at low prices while stating that they had been stolen from their owners.
Undercover NYPD officers sold the electronics to merchants at more than 600 stores around the five boroughs this week — asking from $50 to $200 for iPhone 4s and iPad 2s — after clearly stating the popular gadgets were stolen, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

The sting — which nabbed clerks and workers at businesses such as supermarkets, barbershops, pawnshops and bodegas — began Tuesday and continued through yesterday.

“That’s our intention, to reduce the places where people who steal these things can go and sell them,” said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. “If someone is offering you an iPad for way below market value, you have to realize that it’s most likely stolen.”
iPhones are popular targets for thieves in New York and elsewhere, with an officer in one New York precinct reporting that in some months more than half of the reported robberies involve an iPhone.

The popularity of Apple's devices has not only driven an active market in thefts and resales of the stolen property, but also in counterfeiting. Apple has been targeting vendors selling counterfeit Apple products in New York City and elsewhere, seeking to shut down those companies making unauthorized profits on Apple's name with knockoff products.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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39 months ago

Stealing is wrong, but how is this not entrapment.


Cop: I have a stolen iPhone to sell you.

Criminal: That's fine, I'll take it to make money.
Rating: 19 Votes
39 months ago
It is time to create a law in the U.S. that is common in some (not sure how many) develop countries to eliminate the market for stolen phones. Currently in the US, when a phone is stolen, it is only deactivated and blocked by your carrier. If it were deactivated and blocked by all US carriers, then it would immediately collapse the market for stolen phones as the thief just wouldn't be able to sell for as rich a price. Eliminate the price premium and the thieves will not have as much an incentive to steal phones.

Just think how much money is invested into the law enforcement, reporting, and investigating into stolen phones. If the market for stolen phones can effectively be made unattractive, then all that law enforcement costs drop or can be applied to more important matters for society.

Australia does it pretty effectively and this is save consumers a tremendous amount of money because the number of phones stolen is dropping a staggering rates.
http://www.amta.org.au/pages/amta/The.Mobile.Phone.Industry.Statement
Rating: 13 Votes
39 months ago
This is awesome news. It's not just NYC but everywhere. There have been people MURDERED over an iPhone here in Orlando. I hope these people receive the maximum penalty allowed by law.
Rating: 11 Votes
39 months ago
and why don't carriers blacklist stolen devices? they should be held accountable as well for allowing the cycle to perpetuate even though they have the means to put an end to it - or least put a dent in it.

dt
Rating: 11 Votes
39 months ago
Good. I know 3 people who were robbed, 2 at gunpoint, because these filthy people wanted their phones. Enough is enough. :mad:
Rating: 10 Votes
39 months ago

Stealing is wrong, but how is this not entrapment.


If you're a store owner, you have every right to turn down the offer. Tell me. If you were a merchant and some shady dude offered to slip you an iPhone for cash, would you do it?

If you answered no, then congrats, you're an honorable person who won't go to jail for it, *and* you're not supporting an ecosystem of thugs! YAY!
Rating: 7 Votes
39 months ago

Cop: I have a stolen iPhone to sell you.

Criminal: That's fine, I'll take it to make money.


Exactly. Entrapment is only the forcing of people to commit a crime they would not otherwise commit. This is not a bait and switch.
Rating: 7 Votes
39 months ago

Stealing is wrong, but how is this not entrapment.


For those arguing it's entrapment, here's the definition from wikipedia:

In criminal law, entrapment is conduct by a law enforcement agent inducing a person to commit an offense that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit.[1] In many jurisdictions, entrapment is a possible defense against criminal liability. However, there is no entrapment where a person is ready and willing to break the law and the government agents merely provide what appears to be a favorable opportunity for the person to commit the crime.

Essentially, these 'businesses' buy stolen goods regardless of wether the officer would provide it or not. The police in this situation just proved what was already happening and therefore it is LEGAL.
Rating: 7 Votes
39 months ago

If you're a store owner, you have every right to turn down the offer.


I'd say it goes even further:

If you're a store owner, you have an obligation under law to turn down the offer. To accept is to become a willing accessory to the robbery.
Rating: 7 Votes
39 months ago
I hope this will prevent someone from stealing my iPhone. I grew up with the notion that if you buy a known stolen item it is the same as if you stole it. :cool:
Rating: 7 Votes

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