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Seventh and Market Street is the stolen iPhone marketplace

Police officers in the San Francisco Bay Area are currently trying to correct a serious, ongoing tech problem -- the stolen iPhone market

San Francisco Police Capt. Joe Garrity described how the cross at Seventh and Market Street in downtown San Francisco is the main place for selling/buying stolen iPhones. 

Since about 48 percent of San Francisco residents use an iPhone, the device has a target on its back for theft. Thieves snatch the iPhones from unsuspecting texters on the street, switch their SIM cards (since carriers block SIMs reported stolen) and run to sell them on Seventh and Market.

According to Lookout, a mobile security firm, the total value of lost or stolen phones in the U.S. is approximately $30 billion a year. Many stolen phones bought here are often resold in other countries to escape being blacklisted by American carriers.

San Francisco police officers say nearly half of all robberies in the city involved smartphones last year. Police would use GPS sensors in stolen iPhones to trace their whereabouts, and most often, the phones would end up on Seventh and Market.

So what are police officers doing about this? Sting operations, where Officer Tom Lee is dressed more "streetlike" in a hoodie, jeans and sneakers and walks the streets of San Francisco with a bag of "stolen" iPhones to sell. 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). 

The iPhones are borrowed from Apple for the sting operations, and Lee remains unarmed so that potential buyers don't figure out that he's a cop. However, two armed officers are nearby in street clothes to keep an eye on Lee, and more police officers await in an unmarked car down the street. 

Buyers look the iPhones over to make sure they work, and once agreeing to the deal, offer Lee the cash. He accepts, and gives his fellow police officers a signal to make an arrest. 

However, some disagree with this tactic. They say it invites crime rather than prevents it, and punishes unsuspecting buyers who may not be aware that the device is stolen. 

In one case, where Lee once again played a decoy looking to sell iPhones, he forgot to tell the buyer that the iPhone was stolen. So when the buyer was arrested for making a deal, he was later released from the police station -- and got the $100 he paid for the iPhone, too.

Source: Huffington Post

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RE: Entrapment?
By Shadowself on 4/29/2013 8:22:36 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.

Seems like it would make more sense to go after the thieves. Make stealing *any* cell phone way too risky.

I can't see a significant difference in this concept from a police officer standing on the corner and saying, "I've got some heroin here to sell you. Of course heroin says is illegal, but I've got lots here for you if you want to buy it." Then when the person says OK and offers money, the officer arrests them.

RE: Entrapment?
By GulWestfale on 4/29/2013 8:37:18 PM , Rating: 4
"hey dude, you wanna buy an iphone for like, 50 bucks?"
- "uh, no, thanks, i have an android, why would i pay some guy on the street a hundred bucks for a downgrade?"

RE: Entrapment?
By GulWestfale on 4/29/2013 8:37:58 PM , Rating: 2
50=100... slow day at the office.

RE: Entrapment?
By Samus on 4/30/2013 1:42:43 AM , Rating: 2
I don't necessarily disagree with this tactic, but I agree resources should be put toward arresting the thieves, not the slime that knowingly buy stolen goods.

I've had a lot of things stolen from me in life. Irreplaceable things. Years ago my deceased Uncle's bicycle was stolen from me, lock cut in broad daylight. It was emotional enough for me to give up bicycling.

The point is, I'd never buy a stolen bike, tool, cell phone, etc.

Unfortunately GSM phones with SIM cards are so deregulated that they can't effectively be carrier blacklisted like CDMA phones.

RE: Entrapment?
By MadMan007 on 4/29/2013 10:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
You can agree all you want, you're all still wrong because you don't understand the basic definition of entrapment. At least look it up before posting and take some time to understand it. Heck, the article even gives a specific example that perfectly illustrates what makes a sting entrapment or not.

RE: Entrapment?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2013 11:33:16 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like it would make more sense to go after the thieves. Make stealing *any* cell phone way too risky.

Yeah you think?

It's like when they tie up half a police department on anti-prostitution stings. What's the point? You dress up some lady cop as a whore, and arrest guys looking for sex. Hey congratulations!

Meanwhile you've arrested zero actual prostitutes, you didn't stop sh#t! Meanwhile real prostitutes out there have taken 40 hard dicks while you've tied up half your department arresting a handful of horny guys. Oh and meanwhile during this, there were 10 murders and like 40 rapes and other violent crimes!

Bravo guys, well done, thanks for keeping our streets "safe" lmao.

RE: Entrapment?
By Tony Swash on 4/30/2013 10:14:18 AM , Rating: 2
I recently saw a typical operation by the cops in London designed simply to juke up the arrest stats. It was the evening rush hour in Euston Station in central London and thousands of people were streaming from the top of the 'up' escalators from the Tube only to be greeted by a couple of cops with drug dogs screening everyone as they passed. I am sure within the hour they had made up their arrest targets for the whole month.

Luckily I wasn't carrying :)

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