New Report Details Inside Look at San Francisco Police Department Undercover Stolen iPhone Sting

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    As a part of The Huffington Post's "iTheft" series of articles detailing the black market for stolen iPhones, the website has posted a new feature that takes an inside look at how the San Francisco Police Department handles its stolen iPhone sting operations.
    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 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 in the past through lawsuits.

    Article Link: New Report Details Inside Look at San Francisco Police Department Undercover Stolen iPhone Sting
  2. macrumors 65816

    Mar 27, 2011
    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.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2009
    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.
  4. macrumors P6


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    This is bound for PRSI for sure.

    Entrapment all the way. Apple should be ashamed for participating.
  5. macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    How is it entrapment? Why should apple be ashamed

    Honest sellers wouldn't have hassles with the law
  6. macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2011
    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.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2001
    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.
  8. macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2003
    New Jersey
    God Forbid . . .

    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 . . .

  9. macrumors regular

    Apr 9, 2003
    Should be done worldwide. Take out the middleman and there won't be as big a market for stolen goods.
  10. macrumors regular


    Jun 17, 2010
    Newcastle upon Tyne, England
    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!
  11. macrumors 65816

    Battlefield Fan

    Mar 9, 2008
  12. macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2008
    Up north
    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).
  13. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    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.
  14. macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2013
    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.
  15. Quu
    macrumors 68000


    Apr 2, 2007
    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:
  16. macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2011
    New York
    I wonder of the gangsters know what dfu mode is
  17. macrumors G3


    Mar 20, 2003
    San Francisco
    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.
  18. macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2010
    macrumors apparently
    Was he an "expert" or "genius"?

    Big difference
  19. pubjoe, Apr 29, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2007
    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.
  20. cdmoore74, Apr 29, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013

    macrumors 68000

    Jun 24, 2010
    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.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2008
  22. pmz
    macrumors 68000

    Nov 18, 2009
    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.
  23. macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2010
    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.
  24. pmz
    macrumors 68000

    Nov 18, 2009
    Yes it still is. The fact that law enforcement pretends its not doesnt change a damn thing.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2007
    Why not pose as a buyer?

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

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