LOCK BLOCKERS: City Takes Aim At Stolen Phone Enablers

The City Council’s Public Safety Committee approved an ordinance that would require anyone who unlocks cell phones for a fee in the city to send transaction information to the police department by noon daily.

According to the Sun-Times, information to be sent to the police includes a copy of customers’ IDs and the unlocked phones’ serial numbers.

“I’ve interviewed hundreds of mobile phone theft robbers [sic] and thieves and, across the board, they tell us, ‘I can make more money stealing phones than I can selling dope on the street corner,'” [Chicago Police Sergeant Edward] Wodnicki said.

40th ward Alderman Pat O’Connor used the city’s pawn shop regulation as a model for the cell phone law:

“Pawn shops are required to, on a daily basis, notify the Chicago Police Department of those things they take in. They describe the item. They have identification of the person who brought it in. It goes to the Police Department, so they can do a comparative to those things reported as stolen,” he said.

“In this instance, you have identification of the individual who brings in the phone and a….cellular V.I.N. number…It allows the Police Department to have one more tool to find people who are dealing in stolen goods. It will make it harder for folks who are stealing phones in the Chicago area to actually get their $200 quickly because they won’t be able to utilize the smaller stores…to do this [unlocking] transaction. If local municipalities around us follow suit, we can help make it even more difficult.”

Violation of the law carries a fine of $500 to $1,000 per offense.

Image: Extreme Tech
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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com