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MacRumors
Apr 29, 2013, 01:31 AM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/29/new-report-details-inside-look-at-san-francisco-police-department-undercover-stolen-iphone-sting/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2012/09/iphone5frontback.jpgAs a part of The Huffington Post's "iTheft (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/iphone-theft)" series of articles detailing the black market for stolen iPhones, the website has posted a new feature (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/26/police-sting-stolen-iphones_n_3138609.html) that takes an inside look at how the San Francisco Police Department handles its stolen iPhone sting operations.The man in the hoodie is indeed a policeman: Officer Tom Lee is playing the role of decoy in a sting operation targeting buyers of stolen iPhones. Beneath his sweatshirt, he wears a small recording device taped to his chest. Lee approaches a heavy-set man standing outside the red awning of a Carl's Jr. burger restaurant. The man wears glasses and a black pinstripe suit. He inspects the iPhone and offers $100.

Lee takes the cash, hands over the phone and gives the signal. Four officers swoop in and place the man in handcuffs, notching another arrest in the intensifying cat-and-mouse game playing out here and in other major American cities between law enforcement and criminals looking to profit from the burgeoning trade in stolen mobile devices.The sting operation was one of many set up to try to poison the iPhone black market in San Francisco with "fear and distrust" so that would-be buyers and sellers would be wary of engaging in any illegal transactions.

To facilitate the arrests, the SFPD solicited help from Apple. The company loaned a number of iPhones to the department, which plain clothes officers "sold" while undercover. Officer Lee himself is an Apple "expert," having been employed at an Apple retail store before joining the SFPD.

As noted by The Huffington Post, the program has a number of critics that question both its efficiency and its legality, equating it to little more than entrapment.

According to the San Francisco Police Department, nearly half of the robberies in the city have involved smartphones, which lines up with what a New York police officer said in 2011 when a*similar sting operation (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/12/19/police-arrest-141-new-york-city-merchants-in-stolen-iphone-sting/)*led to 141 arrests.

The popularity of the iPhone and the iPad has also led to additional crimes such as counterfeiting, which Apple has fought (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/08/19/apple-targets-new-york-city-stores-selling-counterfeit-apple-products) in the past through lawsuits.

Article Link: New Report Details Inside Look at San Francisco Police Department Undercover Stolen iPhone Sting (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/29/new-report-details-inside-look-at-san-francisco-police-department-undercover-stolen-iphone-sting/)



unobtainium
Apr 29, 2013, 01:39 AM
How is this even legal? The buyers have no way of knowing whether or not the phone is stolen. Granted, it's pretty sketchy to buy an iPhone from some guy on the street, but "sketchy" should not be enough for criminal charges, especially since no crime was actually committed (the buyers were not, in fact, purchasing stolen phones).

Edited: just read the original article on HuffPo and it's a bit clearer now, but I still think there must be a better way than entrapment.

Azathoth
Apr 29, 2013, 01:41 AM
How about cleaning up the frigging drug dealers from the Travel Lodge parking lot on Mission St? Or catching the actual criminals that are stealing the phones? The criminals will ship them off to another city and sell them there to circumvent this.

Peace
Apr 29, 2013, 01:47 AM
This is bound for PRSI for sure.

Entrapment all the way. Apple should be ashamed for participating.

dukebound85
Apr 29, 2013, 01:53 AM
This is bound for PRSI for sure.

Entrapment all the way. Apple should be ashamed for participating.

How is it entrapment? Why should apple be ashamed

Honest sellers wouldn't have hassles with the law

astral125
Apr 29, 2013, 01:59 AM
I'm glad everyone knows this is entrapment without knowing the circumstances of the sting. If it were entrapment, in California no less, these charges wouldn't stand up for two seconds. Just like prostitution stings, I'm sure they make the "customers" aware that they are purchasing stolen goods.

If you have ever had your iPhone stolen, then you should feel no sympathy for the crooks on the other end who buy your iPhone and make the theft worthwhile. These police officers are trying to cut down on the theft, I think we can give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they know how to do their jobs.

al256
Apr 29, 2013, 02:17 AM
How is it entrapment? Why should apple be ashamed

Honest sellers wouldn't have hassles with the law

Yeah... Having Apple be involved in a government program that creates "fear and distrust" in America's 14th largest city. That, just doesn't sound good.

BigJayhawk
Apr 29, 2013, 02:38 AM
Yeah... Having Apple be involved in a government program that creates "fear and distrust" in America's 14th largest city. That, just doesn't sound good.

God Forbid . . .

Wouldn't want to create "fear and distrust" IN THE CRIMINAL WORLD of America's 14th largest city! What's this country coming to when an "honest criminal" has to worry about "fear and distrust" when they are selling goods STOLEN from the actual citizens that BOUGHT the iPhone in the first place!

What an ENTITLED WORLD we are creating here . . .

Seriously???

SoGood
Apr 29, 2013, 03:24 AM
Should be done worldwide. Take out the middleman and there won't be as big a market for stolen goods.

leon44
Apr 29, 2013, 03:28 AM
It really is entrapment if they're encouraging people to buy a stolen iPhone so they can arrest them. Even if they're made aware the phone was stolen, you're much more likely to consider buying it with enough encouragement at the right price.
This would never be allowed to happen in the UK, 'to catch a predator' is considered entrapment here because it really is!

Battlefield Fan
Apr 29, 2013, 04:10 AM
Had my iPhone stolen once. It sucks.

flottenheimer
Apr 29, 2013, 04:49 AM
What I would love is for Apple to make their products remotely lockable/unusable.
Thereby making Apple Product theft a no go.

While on vacation my 7yr old son just had his brand new iPod Touch stolen. It would have been nice if I could simply press a button in iCloud/Find my iPhone and lock it down as stolen. Apple knows the serial on all the Apple gear I own.
It should be simple to set up, for them and it would be a really good reason to buy Apple rather than anything else (no one will steal your Apple gear it's basically worthless, if stolen).

gnasher729
Apr 29, 2013, 04:56 AM
What I would love is for Apple to make their products remotely lockable/unusable.
Thereby making Apple Product theft a no go.

Don't know about iOS, but for MacBooks it's no problem. It's called "firmware password". You'll need a password to start your MacBook. Replacing the hard drive won't help. Guys at the Apple Store can't unlock it (they can call some place in Cupertino that will tell them how to unlock it, but they will carefully check your ID before they do that).

The problem is that it doesn't help, because the thief doesn't know about it. All it gets you is the nice feeling that the thief doesn't benefit from the theft.

OxTaster
Apr 29, 2013, 05:06 AM
Yeah... Having Apple be involved in a government program that creates "fear and distrust" in America's 14th largest city. That, just doesn't sound good.

Reading comprehension must not be your strong suit. Also, you clearly don't know what entrapment is. Entrapment is when law enforcement cajole or otherwise convince a person to commit a criminal act. Providing opportunity is NOT entrapment.

----------

It really is entrapment if they're encouraging people to buy a stolen iPhone so they can arrest them. Even if they're made aware the phone was stolen, you're much more likely to consider buying it with enough encouragement at the right price.
This would never be allowed to happen in the UK, 'to catch a predator' is considered entrapment here because it really is!

News flash: uk law differs from us law. You can't say what it is or isn't based on semantics. It is not entrapment under US law, nor by my common sense.

Quu
Apr 29, 2013, 05:39 AM
This is surprising to me that they are going after the buyers. I would assume that a large amount of buyers would be seeking a phone for themselves from this market meaning they are a one time buyer.

Wouldn't it be much more efficient to arrest those selling? You know the people who are probably involved in the organised crime of stealing and fleecing the phones? Where stopping one person would remove more than just one transaction from the black market? :confused:

glsillygili
Apr 29, 2013, 05:45 AM
I wonder of the gangsters know what dfu mode is

QCassidy352
Apr 29, 2013, 05:57 AM
This isn't entrapment. Entrapment requires two things: 1) that the police induce the suspect to commit the crime AND 2) that the suspect was not independently inclined to commit the crime. The first prong is easy to show, the second almost impossible.

needfx
Apr 29, 2013, 06:13 AM
Officer Lee himself is an Apple "expert," having been employed at an Apple retail store before joining the SFPD.

Was he an "expert" or "genius"?

Big difference

pubjoe
Apr 29, 2013, 06:27 AM
I despise this set-up.

A buyer may feel intimidated into agreeing after being merely 'provided opportunity' by a dodgy looking hoodlum. In this set-up, the buyer has no opportunity of redemption. You don't need to be verbally encouraged to feel pressured.

Victims of potential muggers have willfully given items away without persuasion so that they avoid confrontation. They obviously have no legal recourse, but it's understandable behaviour.

cdmoore74
Apr 29, 2013, 06:38 AM
I sold my wife's iPhone 4 on Craigslist for $120. I had it for $180 and dropped it to $160 and then to $120. I wanted a quick sale. You mean to tell me that if demand is weak and my price is cheap I could be targeted as a thief? What is the magic number so that the police will not come a knocking?
How about remotely activating a "this phone was reported stolen message" as soon as the phone is turned on. And in order to clear it you take the phone to Apple with proof of purchase. What these people are doing is so low tech I'm surprised that Apple is participating in it. There are plenty of high-tech software related ways to verify that a purchase is legit. You could even install a app that the buyer must activate to verify if phone was stolen. If they don't verify phone they could be found guilty along with the seller. Very simple ideas here folks.

jtrenda33
Apr 29, 2013, 06:42 AM
Does this mean there's going to be a MiB 4?

pmz
Apr 29, 2013, 06:42 AM
Love the people on here who think subverting the law is the answer, as long as it catches a crook or two.

You closet sociopaths get to vote too. Wow.

bikeoid
Apr 29, 2013, 06:44 AM
The problem is that it doesn't help, because the thief doesn't know about it. All it gets you is the nice feeling that the thief doesn't benefit from the theft.

It wouldn't be too long thieves would realize that their theft work was made useless by being bricked, and that there's no market for a bricked iPhone.

pmz
Apr 29, 2013, 06:45 AM
Reading comprehension must not be your strong suit. Also, you clearly don't know what entrapment is. Entrapment is when law enforcement cajole or otherwise convince a person to commit a criminal act. Providing opportunity is NOT entrapment.

----------



News flash: uk law differs from us law. You can't say what it is or isn't based on semantics. It is not entrapment under US law, nor by my common sense.

Yes it still is. The fact that law enforcement pretends its not doesnt change a damn thing.

pubjoe
Apr 29, 2013, 06:50 AM
Why not pose as a buyer?

They're going after the easily led because they can't outwit the thieves.

evansls
Apr 29, 2013, 06:53 AM
This is the transcript from the 'Undercover Stolen iPhone Sting Operation', but law enforcement used Chris Hansen of Dateline's "How to Catch a Predator" on NBC to catch the criminal in action. This is how it all happened...

Hansen: My name is Chris Hansen of Dateline NBC. We're doing a story on Men who try encourage the sell of stolen iPhones.

Criminal: Oh, you think this is an iPhone? This is a Samsung GS3

Hansen: That looks like an iPhone to me. It looks like this in my hand. [Pulls out plastic/brittle cell phone]

Criminal: That's actually a Samsung GS3. Our most profitable model mirrored from an iPhone.

Hansen: But I was told this was an iPhone

Criminal: Sorry, you fell for our new marketing campaign. So are you going upgrade to our latest model? We're now selling GS4.

Hansen: I don't understand. Where am I?

Criminal: You're actually in Best Buy, our new Samsung store front in about 200 locations across the nation.

Hansen: But this is my film crew. There's law enforcement outside who plan to bring you to justice for selling stolen iphones.

Criminal: I'm sorry to disappoint you, but we can market our devices any way we choose and build our designs off the inspired R&D of competitors of whoever is popular this decade.

Hansen: You can do that? And there's no repercussions for such unethical practice? How do you sleep at night?

Criminal: Lets just say, anyone can try to bring us to court. we'll play along and pay our fines, but the goal is to keep our competitors trapped in litigation and to tarnish their brand name.

Hansen: I knew there was something wrong with my phone. All these gimmicks like trying to change a photo by swiping in the air. It doesn't work half the time. Am I holding it wrong?

Criminal: Oh, no, you're holding it correctly. Wait, yes, it's upside down. There... [fixes phone] But we only put in about 2 weeks of development and 1 week of QA. It's actually meant to track eyes of specific ethnicity. This is why this feature doesn't work as well for everyone, but for you it was upside down. You should try again now.

Hansen: So, this phone is racist?

Criminal: I'm not sure I'm following.

Hansen: This phone doesn't operate for everyone, since I'm clearly not of any korean descent.

Criminal: This is possible, but I'm not a liberty to disclose such details.

Hansen: But you just sai....

Criminal: I'm sorry, but I'm not going to be able to help you any more.

Hansen: That's fine. I didn't even like this phone anyway.

Criminal: This is to be expected as well, which is why we now have the store fronts at Best Buy next to the Apple store fronts here [points to the Apple store booth next to him] to discourage people from buying iPhones.

Hansen: You clearly know what you're doing.

Criminal: Yes, we've been doing this a long time even before Apple's iphone/ipad days.

Hansen: Well you're very good at it.

Criminal: We pride ourself as being #1 in consumer dissatisfaction.

tatonka
Apr 29, 2013, 07:09 AM
This is surprising to me that they are going after the buyers. I would assume that a large amount of buyers would be seeking a phone for themselves from this market meaning they are a one time buyer.

Wouldn't it be much more efficient to arrest those selling? You know the people who are probably involved in the organised crime of stealing and fleecing the phones? Where stopping one person would remove more than just one transaction from the black market? :confused:

I guess the ones selling them are crooks no matter what ... but provided a good oportunity even an otherwise good citizen may be tempted to buy. So shaking the trust and fear in those people is more effective as they actually are law-abiding in their everyday lives.
A crooks is a crook and will be released after a moderate slap on the hand.

ptb42
Apr 29, 2013, 07:20 AM
The buyers have no way of knowing whether or not the phone is stolen.

According to the article, potential buyers ARE informed that the phone is stolen. The undercover cop claims he just stole them from the Apple store.

The MacRumors article should have made this clear in the excerpt. I thought it was entrapment as well, until I took the time to read the cited article.

Whatever you think about the police tactics, the buyer cannot claim he didn't know it was stolen, when the seller told him that up front.

needfx
Apr 29, 2013, 07:24 AM
This is the transcript from the 'Undercover Stolen iPhone Sting Operation', but law enforcement used Chris Hansen of Dateline's "How to Catch a Predator" on NBC to catch the criminal in action. This is how it all happened...



so much fun reading that

MrXiro
Apr 29, 2013, 07:26 AM
As someone who has never had his phone stolen nor ever bought an iPhone off of the street (always through At&t actually) I still feel this is terrible. For one it completely IS entrapment, not entitlement. The average citizen is more "not wealthy" vs wealthy and is going to be looking for a deal. I know wealthy people who at times are looking for a good deal. The arrogance of some of the people of this site (especially THOSE calling less wealthy people ENTITLED) is outrageous.

I'm not one of those people who think we should be governed less but this kind of thing doesn't prevent the iPhone thieves from stealing your phone (to then sell overseas for a even bigger profit) but puts fear in the average citizen who has never before committed a crime.

Even with the knowledge that the police are now doing undercover stings is still scary.

Think of it this way, you're walking down the street armed with the knowledge of this article and a person comes up to you and asks if you want to buy his stolen iphone. Do you A. assume he's a cop and want to entrap you? or B. Think this guy might just rob you. It could be either scenario at this point. What do you say to the guy? Either of these scenarios leave you feeling uneasy. Why did this cop target you? Do you look like a "criminal".

This kind of operation is terrible and unnecessary. There are plenty of crimes out there that the police should be taking care of. Not striking fear in the every day man.

Terrin
Apr 29, 2013, 07:36 AM
I'm glad everyone knows this is entrapment without knowing the circumstances of the sting. If it were entrapment, in California no less, these charges wouldn't stand up for two seconds. Just like prostitution stings, I'm sure they make the "customers" aware that they are purchasing stolen goods.

If you have ever had your iPhone stolen, then you should feel no sympathy for the crooks on the other end who buy your iPhone and make the theft worthwhile. These police officers are trying to cut down on the theft, I think we can give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they know how to do their jobs.


LOL. Give police officers the benefit of the doubt. Good one.

----------

According to the article, potential buyers ARE informed that the phone is stolen. The undercover cop claims he just stole them from the Apple store.

The MacRumors article should have made this clear in the excerpt. I thought it was entrapment as well, until I took the time to read the cited article.

Whatever you think about the police tactics, the buyer cannot claim he didn't know it was stolen, when the seller told him that up front.

I would not believe it without a recording. Nonetheless, this type of thing, even if the person buying is told it is stolen turns people who likely would not have committed a crime into a criminal. Moreover, how are they approached, and when are they told it is stolen? If a meeting was arranged via the phone, but the person was told it was stolen at the meeting, people could feel intimidated into making the purchase.

rtdunham
Apr 29, 2013, 07:41 AM
LOL. Give police officers the benefit of the doubt. Good one..

One saved my life. I say get rid of the bad ones, pay the good ones more.

bedifferent
Apr 29, 2013, 08:04 AM
Reading comprehension must not be your strong suit. Also, you clearly don't know what entrapment is. Entrapment is when law enforcement cajole or otherwise convince a person to commit a criminal act. Providing opportunity is NOT entrapment.[COLOR="#808080"]

News flash: uk law differs from us law. You can't say what it is or isn't based on semantics. It is not entrapment under US law, nor by my common sense.

Whether right or wrong, you could offer advice/information without the derogatory tone. Not meaning to be rude myself, it just irks me a bit. :)

Xenomorph
Apr 29, 2013, 08:05 AM
If an iPhone is stolen, it should be DEACTIVATED.

A stolen iPhone should become worthless. The end.

If you want a fail-safe, then the only way to re-activate a stolen iPhone is if the *original owner* petitions to have it re-activated (if the police recover it for them).

If a stolen iPhone becomes unusable, that would get rid of iPhone theft immediately.

Squilly
Apr 29, 2013, 08:20 AM
How is it entrapment? Why should apple be ashamed

Honest sellers wouldn't have hassles with the law

Yet how are the buyers supposed to know they're stolen? Not their fault.

----------

If an iPhone is stolen, it should be DEACTIVATED.

A stolen iPhone should become worthless. The end.

If you want a fail-safe, then the only way to re-activate a stolen iPhone is if the *original owner* petitions to have it re-activated (if the police recover it for them).

If a stolen iPhone becomes unusable, that would get rid of iPhone theft immediately.

Not necessarily. Someone is still out of a phone (being the victim).

CEmajr
Apr 29, 2013, 08:58 AM
If an iPhone is stolen, it should be DEACTIVATED.

A stolen iPhone should become worthless. The end.

If you want a fail-safe, then the only way to re-activate a stolen iPhone is if the *original owner* petitions to have it re-activated (if the police recover it for them).

If a stolen iPhone becomes unusable, that would get rid of iPhone theft immediately.

Can't and won't ever happen because even if they get deactivated in the USA, it wouldn't stop the massive overseas market where most of these phones end up. Apple would never be able to legally have a deactivate feature implemented on a worldwide scale.

As for the article, I would never buy a phone from someone who outright says their device is stolen. Any sane criminal will never say that they stole the device. The people who bought even after being informed its stolen deserve to be caught.

I've bought and sold literally hundreds of smartphones on Craigslist and have never had a person outright tell me they stole the device they were selling me, even if it might have been. Who knows. The people they caught aren't using common sense.

larrybeo
Apr 29, 2013, 09:08 AM
How can this be? The biggest thing criminal about this is that a cell phone service provider would activate and profit off of a stolen device. Even with an iPad, you can't use it until you connect it to a WiFi network, thus Apple would be able to tell if the device is reported stolen. It's a shame that these companies put profit over people's safety.

somethingelsefl
Apr 29, 2013, 09:10 AM
This is bound for PRSI for sure.

Entrapment all the way. Apple should be ashamed for participating.

You clearly don't know the definition of "entrapment": a defense that claims the defendant would not have broken the law if not tricked into doing it by law enforcement officials.

These were criminals that were knowingly buying stolen iPhones, and therefore clearly "likely" to commit the crime whether or not the police had setup the sting operation.

Read the original HuffPost article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/26/police-sting-stolen-iphones_n_3138609.html) before you start spouting off things that simply aren't true.

larrybeo
Apr 29, 2013, 09:10 AM
Can't and won't ever happen because even if they get deactivated in the USA, it wouldn't stop the massive overseas market where most of these phones end up. Apple would never be able to legally have a deactivate feature implemented on a worldwide scale.

As for the article, I would never buy a phone from someone who outright says their device is stolen. Any sane criminal will never say that they stole the device. The people who bought even after being informed its stolen deserve to be caught.

I've bought and sold literally hundreds of smartphones on Craigslist and have never had a person outright tell me they stole the device they were selling me, even if it might have been. Who knows. The people they caught aren't using common sense.

I believe that if you put as much effort into helping people as you do hurting them you would be much better off. Our world isn't built on profit and creed, it's built on Karma and modesty.

spb3
Apr 29, 2013, 09:12 AM
that could be me in handcuffs, buying an iphone off of the craigslist. :confused:

Ryth
Apr 29, 2013, 09:36 AM
How is it entrapment? Why should apple be ashamed

Honest sellers wouldn't have hassles with the law

Exactly.

Always cracks me up when people use some back---wards logic to defend illegal behavior.

tdiaz
Apr 29, 2013, 09:54 AM
I can see it now, Bait Phone.

Using the cameras inside the phone, it films what's happening with it, where it's going, who has it and what they say.

Gulo
Apr 29, 2013, 09:55 AM
You clearly don't know the definition of "entrapment": a defense that claims the defendant would not have broken the law if not tricked into doing it by law enforcement officials.

These were criminals that were knowingly buying stolen iPhones, and therefore clearly "likely" to commit the crime whether or not the police had setup the sting operation.

Read the original HuffPost article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/26/police-sting-stolen-iphones_n_3138609.html) before you start spouting off things that simply aren't true.

Thank you. It's boggling my mind the inane comments on this story. While I'm not a lawyer, they teach this basic concept in College Law 101: if you were not induced to do something illegal AND you would likely have committed the crime anyway, then it's not entrapment.

Also, how many of you thief-coddlers have ever had something stolen? I have, a lot. In fact, my window just got busted out last week because I was naive enough to leave my charger cable plugged in overnight so some jerk suspected I had an iPhone inside. $350 for repairs later...

joeip77
Apr 29, 2013, 10:15 AM
ATT And Apple allowing stollen iPhones to to put back on the network

Whats really sad is that 99.9% of the cellphone users that have an iPhone stolen doesn't know that there stollen phone can be put back on the network, activated and is being used by someone else (ATT and Apple are making money off of your stollen phone) This happened to me, I filed a police report and spoke to Apple and ATT both and was told that the stollen iPhone
Was Not put on the Blacklist so it could not be used on the network anymore. The detective said that they could easily idetify if the the phone was back on the network from its imei#, but that they could not do so unless there was an investigation and that the iPhone could be used to solve a more serious crime. It seems that what ATT and Apple are allowing to happen is definatly a crime.
I even had an person at ATT tell me that when she first went to work for ATT that in one of her first staff meetings this stolen phone blacklist was brought up and they were told that this blacklist is no longer used. She has worked in other cell companys for years and the blacklist was always used to keep stollen phones from ever being used on the network again.What I think is Really insane is that when anyone activates an iPhone on iTunes or a person does this in the store, why doesn't ATT or Apples system see the
imei# as stollen and stop it from being used. I will tell you why more$$$$

Sad Stuff

This is how it Suppose to work
This is from Wiki site

The IMEI number is used by the GSM network to identify valid devices and therefore can be used for stopping a stolen phone from accessing the network in that country. For example, if a mobile phone is stolen, the owner can call his or her network provider and instruct them to "blacklist" the phone using its IMEI number. This renders the phone useless on that network and sometimes other networks too, whether or not the phone's SIM is changed.


So many people still don't no this has been going on.

NakedPaulToast
Apr 29, 2013, 10:16 AM
You clearly don't know the definition of "entrapment": a defense that claims the defendant would not have broken the law if not tricked into doing it by law enforcement officials.

These were criminals that were knowingly buying stolen iPhones, and therefore clearly "likely" to commit the crime whether or not the police had setup the sting operation.

Read the original HuffPost article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/26/police-sting-stolen-iphones_n_3138609.html) before you start spouting off things that simply aren't true.

From the article:
But the police find a problem with their bust: Lee never told the man in the suit that the iPhone he was buying was stolen. They have to let him go.

So clearly they aren't telling everybody that the iPhones are stolen.

Shrink
Apr 29, 2013, 10:21 AM
Thank you. It's boggling my mind the inane comments on this story. While I'm not a lawyer, they teach this basic concept in College Law 101: if you were not induced to do something illegal AND you would likely have committed the crime anyway, then it's not entrapment.

Also, how many of you thief-coddlers have ever had something stolen? I have, a lot. In fact, my window just got busted out last week because I was naive enough to leave my charger cable plugged in overnight so some jerk suspected I had an iPhone inside. $350 for repairs later...

What's a "thief-coddler"??:confused:

I've had my home burgled, my car broken into, and been robbed at knifepoint. Am I a "thief-coddler"?

New concept to me...please explain the interesting category of folks.

Inquiring minds want to know...;)

acslater017
Apr 29, 2013, 10:48 AM
1) Does anyone think it would be a cool to have a show about a cop/part-time Apple Store Expert? More realistic than "Chuck". I'd watch that.

2) The article's first paragraph states that the officer tells the buyer that the products are stolen. People will have different legal opinions (including an SF public defender in the article), but can we assume that the police department of a major American city knows how to do a sting operation (+decent conviction rate) without wasting hundreds of hours?

3) "They'll just sell the phones elsewhere". The article states as much. But this location being targeted was a hub for international illicit trade. It's one piece of the puzzle. If you were a seller, wouldn't you rather get quick cash on the street than cross international borders to commit your crime?

Come off it, people! No one says this is the magic solution to 100% of theft. But in this particular city where 50% of robberies involve smartphones, the local police are targeting the local market for these things. Makes sense.

legioxi
Apr 29, 2013, 11:01 AM
According to the article, potential buyers ARE informed that the phone is stolen. The undercover cop claims he just stole them from the Apple store.

The MacRumors article should have made this clear in the excerpt. I thought it was entrapment as well, until I took the time to read the cited article.

Whatever you think about the police tactics, the buyer cannot claim he didn't know it was stolen, when the seller told him that up front.
I was always under the impression that the buyer had to initiate things for it to not be entrapment. If some cop comes up to me and says, "Hey, want to buy a stolen iPhone?" that would be entrapment... or so I thought.

AutoUnion39
Apr 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
This is ridiculous. They shouldn't be arresting buyers, they need to be arresting sellers. Two of my friends ended up with Note 2s that were reported "lost" so the POS seller can claim insurance.

legioxi
Apr 29, 2013, 11:07 AM
Also, how many of you thief-coddlers have ever had something stolen? I have, a lot. In fact, my window just got busted out last week because I was naive enough to leave my charger cable plugged in overnight so some jerk suspected I had an iPhone inside. $350 for repairs later...

I've had my car broken into 3 times, twice for $2000 worth of stuff (Wrangler, no damage) and once with $6000 worth of equipment (Saab, picked lock, no damage). All three times I paid out $500 for the deductibles (homeowners). I still think this is a ****** way to do police work.

Peace
Apr 29, 2013, 11:10 AM
How is it entrapment? Why should apple be ashamed

Honest sellers wouldn't have hassles with the law

"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. In many jurisdictions, entrapment is a possible defense against criminal liability."

Who's to say the person targeted by the seller was actively looking for a stolen phone to purchase ? If he wasn't that would be the definition of entrapment.

ptb42
Apr 29, 2013, 11:26 AM
I would not believe it without a recording.

Again, if you read the article, they are recording the transaction.

And if you read to the end of the article, you will find they had to release the guy described in the MacRumors excerpt, because they discover that the undercover officer didn't inform him the phone was stolen.

alexander25
Apr 29, 2013, 12:08 PM
the only problem is, if someone steals an iPhone and they sell it, they won't disclose to you that the phone is stolen.

this is stupid.

iSee
Apr 29, 2013, 12:44 PM
According to the article, the undercover cop tells the prospective buyers that the phones are stolen. That rules out entrapment, I think.

However, I wonder about the efficacy of this. It seems like you'd get a lot more benefit from targeting the sellers, especially bigger ones. I can't see how nailing a handful of small time buyers is going to accomplish anything because there are 1000 more for each one they pick up. It would have to be a massive operation to put a dent in the market (and then you have another problem: what are you going to do with all these small time crooks?)

Peace
Apr 29, 2013, 12:51 PM
Again, if you read the article, they are recording the transaction.

And if you read to the end of the article, you will find they had to release the guy described in the MacRumors excerpt, because they discover that the undercover officer didn't inform him the phone was stolen.

According to the article, the undercover cop tells the prospective buyers that the phones are stolen. That rules out entrapment, I think.

However, I wonder about the efficacy of this. It seems like you'd get a lot more benefit from targeting the sellers, especially bigger ones. I can't see how nailing a handful of small time buyers is going to accomplish anything because there are 1000 more for each one they pick up. It would have to be a massive operation to put a dent in the market (and then you have another problem: what are you going to do with all these small time crooks?)

Which is it ? They are telling buyers they are stolen or they aren't.

If they are doing both I would say they are trying to entrap would be buyers.

jcb10
Apr 29, 2013, 01:06 PM
Yet how are the buyers supposed to know they're stolen? Not their fault.

The first paragraph of the article: "He stole these phones, he tells potential customers, before asking them to make an offer."

----------

the only problem is, if someone steals an iPhone and they sell it, they won't disclose to you that the phone is stolen.

this is stupid.

And then you won't be in trouble -- as noted in the story when they released a guy after they realized they forgot to tell him the phone was stolen.

Weaselboy
Apr 29, 2013, 01:16 PM
According to the article, the undercover cop tells the prospective buyers that the phones are stolen. That rules out entrapment, I think.

Informing the buyer the phone is stolen will help with a conviction because the buyer knew the phone was stolen. So this will make it easier for the prosecutor to prove the crime (attempted possession of stolen property). But it still does not completely rule out entrapment. Part of the test for entrapment is have you (police) induced someone to do something (crime) they would not ordinarily have done.

From reading the article it appears (although this is not clear) the undercover officer is approaching people and mentioning he has some new-in-box iPhones to sell, then at some point telling prospective buyers the phones are stolen. If the officer is really actively approaching buyers, that is likely to be an entrapment defense used at trial.

The second problem I see with this is the price the police are selling some phones for. The article mentions the police have sold phones for as low as $25. So you can buy a new in box $500 iPhone for $25? That might be a good entrapment defense that the price was so good the defendant was enticed into doing something he ordinarily would not have done. Let's say the defense is able to show (with their private investigator) the average asking price for a stolen, new iPhone in the area is $150. Selling that same phone for $25 is going to make a pretty good entrapment defense that the defendant never would have bought the phone but for the unusually low price the police used. The article mentions the police don't "quote prices", but still, accepting $25 may create a valid entrapment defense.

This will be interesting to watch as it makes its way into the courts.

gnasher729
Apr 29, 2013, 01:16 PM
You clearly don't know the definition of "entrapment": a defense that claims the defendant would not have broken the law if not tricked into doing it by law enforcement officials.

These were criminals that were knowingly buying stolen iPhones, and therefore clearly "likely" to commit the crime whether or not the police had setup the sting operation.

Read the original HuffPost article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/26/police-sting-stolen-iphones_n_3138609.html) before you start spouting off things that simply aren't true.

I think there is one big problem here. These people didn't actually buy stolen iPhones. They were obviously willing to knowingly buy a stolen iPhone, and handed over money for an iPhone they believed was stolen, but the iPhones were not in fact stolen. I don't know if attempting to buy a stolen iPhone is a crime or not, but that would be the most these people could be charged with.

Just found this (from the UK):

R v Chalcroft and Campbell [2002] 2 Cr. App. R. (S) 42 (at 172); [2001] EWCA Crim. 2931
Pleaded guilty to attempting to handle stolen goods. The defendants agreed to buy stolen goods from an undercover police officer. The defendant believed that he was speaking to the burglar, discussed what should be burgled and anticipated a large profit. 10 months and 8 months.

So it seems it is not entrapment in the UK either. Probably depends very much on the details.

SockRolid
Apr 29, 2013, 01:18 PM
"I know what you're thinking: 'Did he fire six shots or only five?'
Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself.
But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world,
and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question:
'Do I feel lucky?'
Well, do ya, punk?"

- Inspector Harry Callahan, SFPD (Clint Eastwood, "Dirty Harry," 1971)

(FYI: there is no Detective rank in the SFPD. Detectives are officially called "Inspectors.")

Weaselboy
Apr 29, 2013, 01:20 PM
I think there is one big problem here. These people didn't actually buy stolen iPhones. They were obviously willing to knowingly buy a stolen iPhone, and handed over money for an iPhone they believed was stolen, but the iPhones were not in fact stolen. I don't know if attempting to buy a stolen iPhone is a crime or not, but that would be the most these people could be charged with.

Bingo. Attempted possession of stolen property is it in CA.

topper24hours
Apr 29, 2013, 01:35 PM
that could be me in handcuffs, buying an iphone off of the craigslist. :confused:

Yup. IF you heard the words "I'll sell you this iPhone for only $100. I just stole it from the Apple store" and were enough of a douchebag to buy it anyways. Less confused now?

MrXiro
Apr 29, 2013, 01:48 PM
Exactly.

Always cracks me up when people use some back---wards logic to defend illegal behavior.

Bull...

so a person who "REALLY" wants an iPhone happens upon what looks to be a great opportunity to get one and save some money... is considered a criminal to you?

This "sting" doesn't catch criminals it catches dim wits, people who don't know any better.

Stupid people and the mentally challenged don't always look like they have a problem. My wife used to work with a perfectly normal looking 24 year old girl who is quite attractive. At home she keeps her dead pet frog in the freezer and takes it out to play with every so often because she likes how it feels. She also had her perfectly good teeth removed so she could get fake ones put in because a mentally challenged person she was taking care of had fake ones put in and she liked the look of them. You offer this person a "stolen" phone and she'll take it based on the good deal not the morals of it. Her only crime would be, being infinitely stupid not because she's a "criminal".

ptb42
Apr 29, 2013, 02:00 PM
Which is it ? They are telling buyers they are stolen or they aren't.

I believe the intention is to tell the buyer that the phone is stolen, so there is no question about entrapment. That's the reason for the recording.

However, for the person cited in the article, the undercover cop screwed up: he didn't inform the buyer it was stolen, so there was no crime committed. In addition, they may be reviewing the recording to make sure the buyer acknowledged that the phone was stolen, so the buyer can't complain he didn't hear that claim was made.

MrXiro
Apr 29, 2013, 02:18 PM
I believe the intention is to tell the buyer that the phone is stolen, so there is no question about entrapment. That's the reason for the recording.

However, for the person cited in the article, the undercover cop screwed up: he didn't inform the buyer it was stolen, so there was no crime committed. In addition, they may be reviewing the recording to make sure the buyer acknowledged that the phone was stolen, so the buyer can't complain he didn't hear that claim was made.

So one has to wonder then... how often are they actually telling the buyer it's stolen? And when they don't imagine the public embarrassment... this is ridiculous. Catch the thieves, don't make criminals out of regular people.

So this guy comes over to you. Offers you a deal of a lifetime for something you want and in exchange you just need to look the other way and bend the rules a little and then in exchange you go to jail.

I'm not a religious man but this sounds like a deal with the devil... and in this case the devil is the police.

MrXiro
Apr 29, 2013, 02:29 PM
This isn't entrapment. Entrapment requires two things: 1) that the police induce the suspect to commit the crime AND 2) that the suspect was not independently inclined to commit the crime. The first prong is easy to show, the second almost impossible.

So THIS isn't entrapment? It's straight from the article:

"Robert Tester, 20, of Brooklyn, was among those arrested. Tester said the undercover officer was "relentless" and insisted that he buy the iPhone, even after Tester refused. The officer claimed he needed money to buy his daughter Christmas presents, according to a federal lawsuit Tester filed against the city in January.

Tester bought the iPhone for $20 because he was "feeling sorry" for the seller and his daughter, his suit claims. He said he did not know the phone was stolen. The charges were dropped, but Tester claims his arrest made him miss work and caused him psychological injury. He is seeking $150,000 in damages. His suit is pending."

OrangeSVTguy
Apr 29, 2013, 05:44 PM
This is surprising to me that they are going after the buyers. I would assume that a large amount of buyers would be seeking a phone for themselves from this market meaning they are a one time buyer.

Wouldn't it be much more efficient to arrest those selling? You know the people who are probably involved in the organised crime of stealing and fleecing the phones? Where stopping one person would remove more than just one transaction from the black market? :confused:

Much like all the shady resellers on craigslist that lowball the crap out of you? Those are the people you target for this kind of investigation ;)

----------

I can see it now, Bait Phone.

Using the cameras inside the phone, it films what's happening with it, where it's going, who has it and what they say.
Now that would be a cool reality TV show. But I'm sure they would make up stories like all the other "reality shows" out there with bad acting and unlikely drama.

Sora
Apr 29, 2013, 08:51 PM
1. From the details described in the story - it's entrapment
2. Unless more information is provided i.e.: the background information - it may not qualify as entrapment (e.g.: emails/txt/phone conversations were exchanged where the buyer was informed that the iPhone was stolen)
3. Nothing can be taken away from what the San Francisco PD are actually doing (based upon what was actually posted on macrumors).

Quoted from the Huffington Post Article:

In 2011, New York police arrested 237 people over a five-day period for buying and selling stolen iPhones and iPads from undercover officers. The officers told buyers they had stolen the devices from an Apple store in Manhattan.

Robert Tester, 20, of Brooklyn, was among those arrested. Tester said the undercover officer was "relentless" and insisted that he buy the iPhone, even after Tester refused. The officer claimed he needed money to buy his daughter Christmas presents, according to a federal lawsuit Tester filed against the city in January.

Tester bought the iPhone for $20 because he was "feeling sorry" for the seller and his daughter, his suit claims. He said he did not know the phone was stolen. The charges were dropped, but Tester claims his arrest made him miss work and caused him psychological injury. He is seeking $150,000 in damages. His suit is pending.

If he was indeed told - it's entrapment....and even if he was told - the $25 price for an iPhone could still be grounds for entrapment.

iLilana
Apr 30, 2013, 06:41 PM
...is a smart thing to do. Seriously if you stole my phone, I WOULD FIND YOU!!! mainly because I don't have a phone.

dreadful
May 6, 2013, 10:10 PM
According to the way it's described in the story, yes, this is entrapment.

The standard is this:
Would the person have bought the illegal merchandise WITHOUT being prompted to do so by the undercover officer?

As an officer of the law, I can't go up to you, hand you a rock and dare you to break a window, and then arrest you for it. No, you should not have taken my offer. But would you have broken a window if I had not prompted you to do so?