The New York Criminal Law Blog

iPhone Theft On the Rise in NYC

This is my iPhone. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

Life is hard without a smartphone. They allow you to order Chipotle five minutes before you walk in, which means you skip the line. You can stream Pandora while walking to Chipotle. And if your Chipotle is closed, you can use an app to find the closest open Chipotle while texting your friend to meet you.

No, this post isn't about those magical one-pound behemoths. It's about the phone. When walking the streets of New York, it is all to easy to get lost in the phone, checking email, changing to your Ginuwine's Pony station on Pandora, and seeking the nearest burrito assembly line.

And thieves are starting to take notice. iPhone theft is up in New York, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Really up. According to the report, iPhones made up 70% of cell phone theft in the first ten months of 2011. About half of the 16,000 reported robberies involved technological devices.

In addition to putting passwords on your device to protect your data, there are a couple of other steps you can take. You can also use the iCloud “Find My Phone” button, which helps locate the phone if it is turned on. You might also think about keeping your phone tucked away in crowded areas, such as subways.

You should also report your device as stolen as soon as possible, so your cell phone company can ban the device from their network. It won’t help if they take the phone to another company, at least not until the FCC’s database is set up, but it does make resale more difficult.

Police are currently setting up stings to catch buyers of stolen phones. Possessing something that you know is stolen is a Class A misdemeanor in New York, punishable by up to one year in jail.

And if you “accidently” bought a stolen iPhone from a police officer and were caught, it may be time to consult an attorney, as Class A misdemeanors are the most serious type.

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