It’s no secret that iPhones are a hot item, but that also makes them a prime target for theft. Stolen products are often turned around for theft, and the NYPD held a massive sting of bodegas, newsstands, and barbershops to help put a stop to the practice.
Last week, New York City-wide sting by the NYPD caught 141 merchants at various types of locations selling what they think were stolen iPhones and iPads. Undercover agents sold iPad 2s and iPhone 4s to merchants at over 600 locations in all five boroughs, even after they mentioned that the devices were stolen. The standard prices were offered between $50 and $200. Common places that these stolen goods sell for are bodegas, supermarkets, pawnshops, and even barber shops.
The NY Post spoke to the Commissioner as to why they were doing thing this:
“That’s our intention, to reduce the places where people who steal these things can go and sell them,” said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. “If someone is offering you an iPad for way below market value, you have to realize that it’s most likely stolen.”
While the retail prices of the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 (off-contract) are $499 and $549, shops buy these stolen items for around $175 and then sell them for around $300. The Williamsburg and Fort Greene precincts in Brooklyn had already been sending undercover agents to businesses that are known to sell stolen goods. Fort Greene’s 88th precinct already had the practice of asking those brought in where they’d sell their stolen devices, so the sting was based on well-established practices. Brooklyn was the borough that saw the most arrests, at 42. Manhattan had 41, the Bronx with 31, Queens with 21, and Staten Island with 6.
A source at the 90th precinct in Williamsburg advised people to not walk around with their phones out in plain sight.
“Walking around with a cellphone is like walking around with a $500 bill,” said the Williamsburg source. “Kids are stealing them and flipping them immediately.”
Let’s hope the clampdown on such merchants acts as a deterrent for thieves.
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