In an attempt to curb stolen smartphone sales, San Francisco police officers are using a tactic that they hope will shock and awe those who buy stolen iPhones out of doing so. The SFPD is sending out plainclothes officers to some of the rougher areas of SF, offering “stolen” iPhones to unwitting civilians. When someone shows interest in purchasing the device, the cops make an arrest.
According to SFPD, half of all thefts in the city by the bay involve stolen smartphones, with women being the targets of most robberies. The SFPD are picking some of the most notoriously shady places in SF, such as 7th and Market streets, where selling of stolen smartphones and other items regularly take place.
In order for the SFPD to be able to make arrests, the police need the prospective buyer to name a price for the item. Undercover cops will approach prospective buyers, clearly state that the item is stolen than ask for the customer to make an offer. Only at that point can SFPD make an arrest.
Whether or not this approach will actually curb stolen smartphone sales is to be determined, but one thing’s for sure; if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. And taking it just may land you in jail or with a nice fat fine. What are your thoughts on the SFPD’s strategy?