Source: Yahoo News
quote: But - each phone has it's distinct identifier (IMEI) otherwise multiple people would have their phones ringing when they dialed their friends. How difficult would it REALLY be to have a process by which each carrier had access to a master database which could be queried before activating a 'self brought' phone?
quote: The police officers dress more "streetlike" in a hoodie, jeans and sneakers and walk the streets of San Francisco with a bag of "stolen" iPhones to sell (the iPhones are actually borrowed from Apple for the purpose of the sting operations). He tells potential customers he has iPhones for sale, freshly stolen from the Apple Store, and that they should make him an offer (typically $25-$200). Buyers look the iPhones over to make sure they work, and once agreeing to the deal, offer the undercover cops cash. They accept, and give fellow police officers (who are parked down the street) a signal to make an arrest.