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Ten Cops Can't Recover Police Chief's Son's iPhone

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the try-twenty-next-time dept.

Crime 277

Hugh Pickens writes "The Oakland Tribune reports that when Berkeley police Chief Michael Meehan's son's cell phone was stolen from a school locker in January, ten police officers were sent to track down the stolen iPhone, with some working overtime at taxpayer expense. 'If your cell phone was stolen or my cell phone was stolen, I don't think any officer would be investigating it,' says Michael Sherman, vice chairman of the Berkeley Police Review Commission, a city watchdog group. 'They have more important things to do. We have crime in the streets.' But the kicker is that even with all those cops swarming around, looking for an iPhone equipped with the Find My iPhone tracking software, police were not able to locate the phone. 'If 10 cops who know a neighborhood can't find an iPhone that's broadcasting its location, that shouldn't give you a lot of confidence in your own vigilante recovery of a stolen iProduct,' writes Alexis Madrigal. 'Just saying. Consider this a PSA: just buy a new phone.'"

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10 cop's coulnd't find taco's epnis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094061)

but they were able to find his enus, and then the fun started!!1

I would be more worried... (3, Funny)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40094079)

I would be more worried if they found the phone quickly.

Re:I would be more worried... (4, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | about 2 years ago | (#40094279)

Typical anti-LE first-post karma-grabbing reply.

Did you notice that they were using Find My iPhone? It's an Apple service which requires opting-in on the part of the phone's user (pre-losing the phone, of course.)

The joke you should have made has to do with not being able to find ones ass with 10 cops and a map. These guys had GPS from the phone (via consent of the victim or certainly his father) and couldn't find it. That takes a spectacular level of incompetence.

Re:I would be more worried... (5, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 2 years ago | (#40094681)

These guys had GPS from the phone (via consent of the victim or certainly his father) and couldn't find it. That takes a spectacular level of incompetence.

I think it illustrates limitations in the technology more than human incompetence. The service can't find your phone. It can tell you that your phone is near 55th and San Pedro, but it's not going to tell you which house and room the thing is sitting in, or whose pocket it has been put in. I bet I can stash a phone "near" any intersection in the country and you wouldn't be able to find it with only that information.

Notice that I'm not suggesting a solution... the service does what it does, but it's not a panacea for finding lost things.

Re:I would be more worried... (5, Informative)

4phun (822581) | about 2 years ago | (#40094951)

I think it illustrates limitations in the technology more than human incompetence. The service can't find your phone. It can tell you that your phone is near 55th and San Pedro, but it's not going to tell you which house and room the thing is sitting in, or whose pocket it has been put in. I bet I can stash a phone "near" any intersection in the country and you wouldn't be able to find it with only that information.

Notice that I'm not suggesting a solution... the service does what it does, but it's not a panacea for finding lost things.

I bet I can find the stolen iPhone. I would do what every other LE officer would do. He would walk up to the location and then call the lost iPhone's cell number. Then with probable cause he could seize any phone that rang and was answered matching the audio he heard with his observation of the suspects lips.

This happens nearly every day in the USA. I think it is hilarious when the cops seize guns and a large drug stash at the same time from the perp and his urban buddies. My favorite form of instant justice is hearing there were panicked perps who jumped out of a second floor or higher window injuring themselves only to be caught by more backup cops waiting below.

Re:I would be more worried... (4, Informative)

Huge_UID (1089143) | about 2 years ago | (#40094957)

Really? I use Find My iPad to find my iPad in my _house_. "Ah, the kids left it behind the couch."

Re:I would be more worried... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40095037)

Just seems like a typical government worker. No jelly donuts for them this week!

Re:I would be more worried... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40095071)

Go to the GPS coordinates, call the phone number, and listen?

Re:I would be more worried... (2, Informative)

Known Nutter (988758) | about 2 years ago | (#40094687)

That takes a spectacular level of incompetence.

Interesetingly, this is also another typical anti-LE karma-grabbing post.

You weren't there. The only information you have is what was in the article, which states that contact was made at several homes in an attempt to locate the phone. You have no clue as to the contents of those contacts or any way of accurately quantifying the competence of the officers involved.

Now, 10 cops for a missing cell phone... you could call that obnoxious -- at the very least! Competence is not an issue here, though.

Re:I would be more worried... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 years ago | (#40094767)

The only information you have is what was in the article, which states that contact was made at several homes in an attempt to locate the phone.

So, did they try something obvious like "go to the place that iRetrieve says the phone is, then dial the phone and listen for ringing"?

Or did they just ask the people they met if they had a stolen iPhone?

Re:I would be more worried... (1, Redundant)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 years ago | (#40094805)

Did the "Oakland 10" go to the kid's girl-friend's home, and then try dialing it? I'd be curious where they found it, it they did.

Re:I would be more worried... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40094933)

Or s phone that was turned off or an application uninstalled before the investigation started or a service that plain does not work.

Re:I would be more worried... (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#40094909)

Maybe the iphone was simply... OFF

Re:I would be more worried... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40095009)

who was phone?

Why all the cops? (5, Funny)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 years ago | (#40094081)

That's because the kid had photo's of his dad that he used to blackmail him into getting the iPhone in the first place.

Re:Why all the cops? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 years ago | (#40094823)

How much is an iPhone worth in the hands of a Oakland Cop?

The cops got a zero IQ (4, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40094087)

But when you multiply that times 10, that's pretty smart.

Re:The cops got a zero IQ (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40094911)

Actually, IQ is multiplicative, not additive.

Re:The cops got a zero IQ (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40095065)

No need to be so divisive.

Re:The cops got a zero IQ (4, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#40095121)

It really subtracts from the power of the humour value.

That's the police for you (3, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#40094093)

Unless you're related or f**king one of them, you can forget about timely justice. And, unless there's a chance they'll get to whip out a gun and play cops/robbers, you might as well fire up a pot of coffee because you're going to be waiting a while. My girlfriend is an asst. manager at a major chain store and they have a revolving door of the usual suspects and it's very low on law enforcement's priority.

But, some of the blame also falls on the court system which has found that chasing potheads is more lucrative than going after petty thieves.

Re:That's the police for you (5, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#40094267)

Meanwhile, and where I live, the police did recover my brother's cheap-ass Nokia. The cop just sent a request for the phone's location to the mobile operator, along with my brother's signed statement on how he had lost his phone, identified a teenage kid who had stolen before, stopped by his house and got the phone back. Then they called my brother to go pick it up.

Re:That's the police for you (4, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40094441)

Right, the trick is that the phone has to be taken to a location that you can uniquely identify, or be given to a person you can uniquely identify.

The problem with any sort of GPS tracking is that it has an error range. If you can pin down that the phone is in my building, but the building has 120 units in it. Is it really worth search 120 units for a 500 dollar phone? Actually maybe it is, if in the long run you set the precedent that the police will hunt you down and arrest you if you steal a 500 dollar phone, but it might not be. Different people will have different tolerances for these things.

One of my friends in san francisco had his iphone stolen with find my iphone on it. The guy who stole it took it to his own house. And as the article states if the police can real time track it guess what? Right. That guy got caught. Take it to an apartment, or an area with a lot of tightly grouped living spaces and you're SOL.

All of which goes to show that all of the phone carriers need to have a stolen device list that will disable stolen phones.

Re:That's the police for you (4, Insightful)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 2 years ago | (#40094503)

The problem with any sort of GPS tracking is that it has an error range. If you can pin down that the phone is in my building, but the building has 120 units in it. Is it really worth search 120 units for a 500 dollar phone? Actually maybe it is, if in the long run you set the precedent that the police will hunt you down and arrest you if you steal a 500 dollar phone, but it might not be. Different people will have different tolerances for these things.

Is it really worth running roughshod over the privacy of 119 innocent units to discover 1 alleged perpetrator?

Damn, I think I just encouraged them.

Re:That's the police for you (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | about 2 years ago | (#40094565)

You don't have to do a full search. Unless the flat is really large, it would be enough to have a policeman stand in front of the open door and make the phone he's looking for make noise (either via the phone location app or just by calling it).

Re:That's the police for you (2)

digitig (1056110) | about 2 years ago | (#40094633)

You don't have to do a full search. Unless the flat is really large, it would be enough to have a policeman stand in front of the open door and make the phone he's looking for make noise (either via the phone location app or just by calling it).

Sure, because no phone thieves would know how to switch a phone to silent.

Re:That's the police for you (4, Informative)

The Good Reverend (84440) | about 2 years ago | (#40094781)

Find My iPhone has a feature that allows you to play a tone, even if the phone is on silent.

Of course, if the phone is off, you're screwed. At least you can remotely wipe it.

Re:That's the police for you (1)

Ohrion (814105) | about 2 years ago | (#40094853)

Find my iPhone will play a tone for 2 minutes at max volume, whether the device is in silent more or not. You can also wipe or put a pass-code on the device remotely. The thief, however, could either disable that feature before you get a chance to use it, or simply turn the device completely off.

Re:That's the police for you (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40095067)

If the flat is really large you could probably pin it down more precisely too.

Besides that find my iPhone is a specific implementation of a solution to a problem, that doesn't mean you couldn't construct a better, less privacy invasive and more viable solution as well.

Re:That's the police for you (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40094591)

The problem with any sort of GPS tracking is that it has an error range. If you can pin down that the phone is in my building, but the building has 120 units in it. Is it really worth search 120 units for a 500 dollar phone? Actually maybe it is, if in the long run you set the precedent that the police will hunt you down and arrest you if you steal a 500 dollar phone, but it might not be.

It would be illegal.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

That you're one out of 120 who might have dunnit isn't "probable cause". This is exactly the kind of fishing expeditions that the amendment was designed to prevent. Even if you know a crime was committed, you can't use that as an excuse to search everyone.

That doesn't stop cops and certain politicians from trying to do go fishing, of course. After all, if you look hard enough, few people are really 100% innocent, so you're bound to discover some crimes and make arrests, which will make you popular with the holier-than-thou part of the population.

Re:That's the police for you (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40095045)

So what's the correct error range? 2 units? 1? 1 with 3 inhabitants? We're arguing degree here.

If you can pin down to a specific house with 1 resident, and that's legal, everything else is a matter of where you want to set the threshold for reasonable. I specifically left the statement open ended for that reason.

Re:That's the police for you (1)

izomiac (815208) | about 2 years ago | (#40094989)

I can't speak for the rest of the world, but the vast majority of Americans don't live in cities. In a rural, or likely even suburban setting the phone's location is probably precise enough to identify a single-family dwelling. For apartments, the police could ask the tenants: "Have you seen anyone with a new [phone model] lately?" or "Who works at [other place the phone has been]?". They have alternatives to ransacking 120 apartments.

Not that this is likely to matter much outside of NYC. I live in a downtown apartment in a major US city and my phone easily pinpoints my location to one half of my small apartment, as-are the wonders of WiFi triangulation.

Re:That's the police for you (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40095089)

http://proximityone.com/urbanpopulation.htm

About 80% of the US population is Urban, but that would include suburban population as well and I can't find the data for which is which

And ya, if the phone can provide data to within one apartment for example, why wouldn't you use that?

Re:That's the police for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40095091)

I can't speak for the rest of the world, but the vast majority of Americans don't live in cities.

You must live in the distant past. Since 1920, a majority of Americans have lived in urban areas. By 2010,
the U.S. was 82% urban.

(By the way, the world as a whole became majority urban in 2007.)

Re:That's the police for you (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | about 2 years ago | (#40095145)

"have a stolen device list that will disable stolen phones."

Mind describing how to do this in a way which can't be abused?

Re:That's the police for you (2)

richlv (778496) | about 2 years ago | (#40094655)

which country is that ?
(north-eastern europe here)
i have reported several car break-ins. "are you sure you want to report it ? maybe it wasn't very important ? well, we can't arrive very quickly, are you sure you want to wait ? we probably can't find them anyway"
i have reported several garage/barn breakins. "are you sure you want to report it ? maybe it wasn't very important ? well, we can't arrive very quickly, are you sure you want to wait ? was anything actually taken ? we probably can't find them anyway. was it really something expensive ?"

of course, nobody has ever been caught. i suspect that if i reported 10 dead bodies in my garage, they would go "well, can't you dispose of them in some fashion ? we probably can't do anything about it anyway. were they expensive ?"

Re:That's the police for you (5, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | about 2 years ago | (#40094333)

The truth is, there's a lot of crime and not a lot of money for cops. And for most individuals who are burglarized, there's rarely enough evidence to even begin an investigation. The best you can usually hope for is to have serial numbers for some of your stuff and that when the thief screws up and gets caught, that you'll be able to get your stuff back then. More likely it's already been sold, though.

The other truth is that all jobs have perks. Some people get to read Slashdot during the day. Some people don't have to pay for their own car or cell phone. And some people get more immediate attention from the police. Is it fair? No, but all of these things happen on a daily basis, and there's little sign that they will ever change.

Re:That's the police for you (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#40094537)

The truth is, there's a lot of crime and not a lot of money for cops.

Imagine the law enforcement resources that would be freed up and made available for real crimes (i.e. those with a victim) if we never prosecuted anything that happens among consenting adults. I bet a lot more thieves, rapists, and murderers would be behind bars.

The other truth is that all jobs have perks. Some people get to read Slashdot during the day. Some people don't have to pay for their own car or cell phone. And some people get more immediate attention from the police.

The difference being that everyone pays for police protection but some get better service than others. If you can read Slashdot during the day or have a company-supplied phone, that's between you and your employer. If that really bothered me for some reason, I could choose not to do business with you.

Is it fair? No, but all of these things happen on a daily basis, and there's little sign that they will ever change.

Maybe you didn't intend it this way but that sounds rather defeatist. None of that is a reason to give up and stop calling attention to abuses wherever they happen. None of that means we shouldn't expect better. If we never scrutinized these things, it would be far worse than it is right now.

Re:That's the police for you (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#40094567)

The other truth is that all jobs have perks. Some people get to read Slashdot during the day. Some people don't have to pay for their own car or cell phone. And some people get more immediate attention from the police. Is it fair? No, but all of these things happen on a daily basis, and there's little sign that they will ever change.

This isn't about fairness, it is about abuse of power. None of your other examples involve the public trust. The cops get all kinds of special privileges to enable them to do their jobs, so they have a higher standard to up hold than some guy driving to the grocery store in his company car.

The reason there is little sign that this kind of abuse of power will stop is in part due to people making false equivalancies to excuse it.

Re:That's the police for you (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 2 years ago | (#40094741)

If my employer doesn't like me hanging on Slashdot during my breaks, he can tell me or fire me eventually. If the cops don't pay attention to a genuine report, please tell me how could I fire them. 'Cause I'd do it in no time.

Re:That's the police for you (4, Funny)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about 2 years ago | (#40095139)

The truth is, there's a lot of crime and not a lot of money for cops. And for most individuals who are burglarized, there's rarely enough evidence to even begin an investigation.

That's why I'm part of our Neighborhood Watch. If I see a stranger in our neighborhood acting odd or dressed like a thug, then I'll confront them. That approach has worked pretty well for me, until recently.

Re:That's the police for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094387)

You must live in a crime ridden area. I would suggest getting involved in reducing crime in your neighborhood, there are lots of ways you can work to improve your community. Bitching about how bad the cops are seldom does any good. I live in a relatively crime free area and I have a decent relationship with the local law enforcement. If someone stole my phone I'm fairly certain they would do what they could within a reasonable amount of time. Maybe it's because I don't go around telling people you have to be sleeping with one of them to get them to do their jobs. Respect goes a long way, as does having a decent attitude.

Their checks don't bounce, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094673)

That should be enough respect there. Don't like it? Then quit mouthafucker, McDonalds is always hiring.

Re:That's the police for you (2)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | about 2 years ago | (#40094583)

I had Prey installed on my son's laptop, which was stolen along with a bunch of other things. After I told Prey it was stolen, we got a geolocation hit in a nearby town with the name of the hotel in the WiFi. The local police went out at midnight and collected it all for us. We drove over in the morning and brought them brownies.

Re:That's the police for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094677)

But, some of the blame also falls on the court system which has found that chasing potheads is more lucrative than going after petty thieves.

ahahahahahhahahahahahha oh man it's hilarious when someone starts what seems to be a valid argument then throws in some drug propaganda at the end

Re:That's the police for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094887)

Especially because this occurred in Berkeley CA, where they don't give a fuck about potheads.

How Is This Story News For Nerds??! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094101)

The only tech angle here is that the item in question is an iPhone.

Subsititute that for a car or a bike, would this story be here? Why or why not? I sense an an anti-LEO pattern on this site.

Re:How Is This Story News For Nerds??! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094199)

Perhaps you should read a little harder.

The fact that a service designed to help find stolen iPhones failed to work is why this is here.

Re:How Is This Story News For Nerds??! (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 2 years ago | (#40094455)

and the phone was turned off before the cops got to the last known location.

Re:How Is This Story News For Nerds??! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094251)

It depends. Does the car or bike have a Lojack system installed?

The point of this article is that the phone had a locator system installed and the cops were unable to find it. It implies that even with locator software, the police cannot find stolen property. This is very much a tech story.

Stop being so paranoid.

Re:How Is This Story News For Nerds??! (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40094253)

The tech angle is pretty obvious. It's in the 3rd-to- last sentence.

Cops can't find our lost or stolen smartphones, even when said phone is broadcasting its location, so clearly that's a deficiency in the design.

Re:How Is This Story News For Nerds??! (3, Interesting)

kencurry (471519) | about 2 years ago | (#40094367)

The tech angle is pretty obvious. It's in the 3rd-to- last sentence.

Cops can't find our lost or stolen smartphones, even when said phone is broadcasting its location, so clearly that's a deficiency in the design.

... or is it just that the cops can't/won't take the final step? The location map was pretty accurate when I used it to see where I'd left my phone. There should be no mistake which house/building etc. That's all the system can really do for you.

Re:How Is This Story News For Nerds??! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094737)

>> anti-LEO

We're Slashdot.
We don't like spam.
Spam is made of pork.
Pork is made of pigs.
The police are pigs.

Therefore:

We don't like the police.

Shouldn't this have the monty python icon... (3)

BMOC (2478408) | about 2 years ago | (#40094161)

In honor of the professional and successful police investigation?

//sarcasm^2

if the greedy telecoms.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094163)

.....would just agree to brick phones when they are reported lost or stolen, there'd be no market for stolen phones. And people would stop stealing them.

But AT&VzwSprT-Mo won't do that, because they want everyone's cash, whether it's the person who bought the phone or the person who stole it. The cash is all the same color, so they don't give a sh!t.

Still useful. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094173)

I'm under no illusion that "Find my iphone" will recover my stolen phone, but it's been great for those. "Ah shit where's my phone?" Moments.
Just knowing where it is, or weather or not it's stolen, or if you left it at your friends or your parents house is good enough. Its the unknown quantity that's scary.

The GPS is indeed accurate enough to determine things like. "Oh, it's in my car parked outside" - Done that from both home and work with my iphone and my ipad2 w/3g

Re:Still useful. (5, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#40094405)

GPS tracking has recovered my son's stolen phone on one occasion. He was at a children play facility, and his phone was in his cubby with his shoes. When we came to pick him up, the phone was gone. The owners of the facility were quick to remind us that they are not responsible for lost or stolen items, and they had no idea what might have happened to the phone.

I explained that while it would be unfortunate if someone walked off with it, they didn't need to worry about it as I had the phone updating it's GPS location. I proceeded to look up the phones location using my own phone. That's when it was 'remembered' that one of the employees "put the phone in the office to make sure no one stole it."

Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (1, Troll)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40094181)

Probably spent close to $1000 in overtime pay just to find a $200 phone. Ridiculous. We should turn police duties over to a private company that way, when they do dumb shit like this, we can fire them and hire a different company. But as things stand now, we taxpayers are forced to eat the thousand dollar loss.

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (3, Interesting)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#40094219)

To be fair, the $1000 also goes towards attempting to convict a thief which may in this case itself recover more stolen goods or prevent other goods from being stolen. In the wider world it may also produce a deterrent effect against future crime. I imagine that if cops never went after any stolen goods there would be even more theft.

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40094421)

What the hell are you talking about? There's no thief. The kid lost his phone.

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (1)

crakbone (860662) | about 2 years ago | (#40094645)

Yeah, I just slipped right out of the kid's school locker and manged to hop a bus to Oakland. That Siri is far more adept than I ever expected.

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (1)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about 2 years ago | (#40094825)

Yeah, I just slipped right out of the kid's school locker and manged to hop a bus to Oakland. That Siri is far more adept than I ever expected.

That Siri is a wild bitch... One weekend a few years back, she and I rented a convertible, drove out to Vegas, and took mushrooms with 8 strippers. Yadda yadda yadda, three days later Siri has maxed all her (and my) credit cards, done all 8 strippers (and me) and passed out naked on a craps table. I might hang with her again, but I'm not bringing my credit cards... I just now got out of debt.

The worst part is I she talks like that during sex, too. The bonging gets a little old...

lost... or sold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40095073)

The kid may have sold the phone on ebay, pocketed the 400-500 bucks and reported it stolen to get a new one.

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40094487)

Never mind. I reread the summary... it was stolen. Nevertheless I STILL don't think it's worthwhile to spend $1000 to recover a $200 item. That's just very, very bad financial planning and would be cheaper if the taxpayers just directly-bought a new iPhone for the little kid.

Now if there was a rash of stolen phones, such that the total lost value exceeded $1000, THEN it would be worth the expenditure to recover the 2000 or 3000 dollars worth of phones. BUT that does not appear to be the case here. The article says nothing about a serial thief.

Disclosure: I hate government. I hate corporations. I hate monopolies. I don't trust ANY of these organizations, or the ways they abuse the people below them.

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094679)

Yeah, after you've found the guy who stole the phone you patiently tell him that you'd like him to give it back, he gives it back, and that's the end of it, right?
No, sir. You make the idiot pay for the police investigation, and some more.

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40094761)

>>>You make the idiot pay for the police investigation, and some more.

No because most of these idiots don't have the money.... that's why they stole in the first place. Better for police to weigh the cost of an investigation. If it costs $1000 to recover a $200 phone, it's not worth it. The police chief can buy his kid a new phone.

If it costs $1000 to recover 3000 dollars worth of phones..... then go for it. This is the same analysis a private insurance company does: Do they fix your car after it's recovered... or do they just hand you $500 and junk it. In my case the car was 20 years old so they junked it. Police need to do the same cost-benefit analysis.

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (4, Interesting)

war4peace (1628283) | about 2 years ago | (#40094793)

Um, how much would you value a rape, then? Or a beating? Or domestic violence? Or even murder?
It would be interesting to see a world where such calculations are being performed.
Oh, so the guy punched you repeatedly in the face and stole 100 USD from you? Right. How much was the hospital charging you? 2000 USD? I see. So that's a total of 2100 USD. Well, we can have one officer spend 5 days investigating this, then tough luck buddy. Maybe next time you'll get lucky and he'll stab you in the liver, I heard those wounds are expensive to heal and we'd be able to investigate the incident for one whole month.

Yeah, would be interesting to live in such a world, indeed...

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (1)

Grave (8234) | about 2 years ago | (#40095125)

Wow. Really? Theft is very easy to put a value on. It's a phone worth a few hundred dollars, or a car worth a few thousand/tens of thousands, etc. We're not talking about rape/murder/violence being quantified into a dollar amount here - those are crimes worth going after without regard to cost, and the bulk of society agrees on that.

What we are talking about, however, is wasting huge amounts of money to recover something that isn't worth it, and that is not even standard operating procedure. Do we spend $1000 in overtime (plus the normal usage/regular time of ten cops) every time a phone gets stolen? Hell no! That's the issue here - one kid gets special treatment over a low-value theft. If the crime rate in that town was zero except for this one incident, then by all means spend the time and money to pursue it if the taxpayers will allow it.

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | about 2 years ago | (#40094597)

While I'm positive your intentions are good, here is what I read from your comment - that the ends justify the means, and you're perfectly happy with spending money to get convictions because surely more convictions means less crime. Neither ideal is uncommon in North America and Western Europe this decade, but I just simply have to ask - did you consider that time and money could have been better spent in the community? After all, law enforcement agencies are servants to society - it [used to be] their job to play an active role in the welfare of the community as a whole by taking on systemic issues proactively, not simply racking up convictions and recovering property of private citizens.
Who knows, maybe this is just a reflection of the direction our society is going. At the end of the day, a conviction is a metric that can be tracked - but taking the time to educate a room full of children why they shouldn't steal has no immediate, tangible benefit.

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 years ago | (#40094841)

but taking the time to educate a room full of children why they shouldn't steal has no immediate, tangible benefit.

Hard to argue successfully that someone shouldn't steal when you're also saying "we really don't have time to catch thieves, which is why we wish you wouldn't"....

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094907)

Because we already pay people to "educate a room full of children why they shouldn't steal" (hint: they're called teachers)...AND in the communities I grew up in at least, law enforcement was regularly visiting school campuses and giving assemblies on community issues (DARE, "Just Say No", McGruff...etc.).

By the way...an iPhone is NOT a $200 device...it retails for $599. So if some of us are going to use pricing as justification for going after/not going after the perp then at least get the dollar values correct.

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094273)

We should turn police duties over to a private company [...]

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Penny wide; Dollar foolish. (1)

Sancho (17056) | about 2 years ago | (#40094381)

I don't think I want to live in a world where the cops will only investigate crimes if the financial loss due to the crime is greater than the cost of the investigators time.

Actually, as a supporter of the 2nd amendment, maybe I do want to live in that world.

MPAA RIAA (5, Funny)

Dj Stingray (178766) | about 2 years ago | (#40094185)

If that iPhone was downloading illegal music/movies I bet they would find it in no time.

Also intimidates journalists (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094187)

He earlier sent an officer to a journalist's house in the middle of the night to intimidate him.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/11/BANH1NJ73K.DTL

Well, what about we think a bit.... (0)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | about 2 years ago | (#40094197)

Let’s be analytical about this. Would a sane, intelligent and capable person voluntarily put themselves into harm’s way on a daily basis? Would a sane, intelligent and capable person put himself / herself in a position where is set against violent criminals? Obviously not. Cops are not sane, intelligent and capable persons. They have become cops because the other options were working refilling shelves in supermarkets. They do not have an IQ of 180. If they did, they would be doctors, engineers, architects or something else that is both useful and rewarding. Don’t go around bashing people just because they are not as smart as we are people!

not necessarily (3, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | about 2 years ago | (#40094241)

I'm sure that there exist police officers who are doing the job because they think it needs doing and someone else would do it worse.

Re:not necessarily (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40094353)

Those types don't last long. In fact, they specifically reject [go.com] those who perform well on intelligence tests because they don't want to invest in training someone who is smart enough to realize just how fucked law enforcement actually is and flee.

Re:not necessarily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094469)

I'm sure you're right, but, you only need more than one of those to exist and you are right. It could be less than 3 total on the whole planet and you'd still be right, so you aren't saying much there bucko!

Re:Well, what about we think a bit.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094323)

Here is to sincerely hoping your sarcasm has wooshed over my head. The alternative is mind boggling.

Re:Well, what about we think a bit.... (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 2 years ago | (#40094391)

You do realize being a garbage man or taxi driver or farmer is more dangerous than being a cop, right?

Re:Well, what about we think a bit.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094433)

A taxi driver? Maybe. But that's only because all of the cops are out looking for their boss's son's iPhone and not protecting the public.

But a garbage man? Citation please.

I don't need a citation for farmer though. Woody's farm-accident-horror stories on Cheers are good enough for me.

Is this Reddit or Slashdot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094285)

There's no tech news here. This story is on the wrong site.

How about some crack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094377)

Did they stumble upon any meth [slashdot.org] while they were searching for the iPhone?

Thieves with Half a Brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094407)

Know you need to turn off a stolen cellphone and sell it to the guy who ships them to Asia...for cash.

This could also mean .. (1)

n5vb (587569) | about 2 years ago | (#40094427)

.. that none of the ten officers they sent out looking for the phone were good at correlating live location data on a map to real-world locations. You'd be surprised how many people, cops included, lack that very basic spatial-visualization skill.

Then again, if the phone was physically well hidden and the people around it had enough acting talent to not look too hinky, it would be pretty difficult for the cops to make much progress even if they *could* narrow down to a relatively small radius. And depending on the EPE of the phone's GPS and the resolution of its tower location, the radius might not have been that small. (And the hiding location could have been specifically selected to optimize that..)

Wrong Division (4, Funny)

MikeMacK (788889) | about 2 years ago | (#40094435)

Well, it was a mistake to use the Keystone division...

Re:Wrong Division (1)

sco08y (615665) | about 2 years ago | (#40094843)

Well, it was a mistake to use the Keystone division...

Berkley has another?

Technology is becoming more advanced (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | about 2 years ago | (#40094459)

And criminals are becoming better educated. Society needs to invest in more and better trained police and judges.

With more and better trained policemen, detectives, and judges spending on intelligence services and civil rights violations could be cut. The types of crime that make people feel disenfranchised could be cut down and society could be a better, safer and happier place.

Currently law enforcement budgets are being cut, putting "serve and protect" on the back burner. Funds are being dumped into homeland security which treats some crimes differently than others leading to people feeling that the system is biased. Further it is eroding our civil liberties, which again makes people dislike their government and society and increases anxiety and hostility towards authority.

It's really a no brainer.

Re:Technology is becoming more advanced (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40094533)

With more and better trained policemen, detectives, and judges spending on intelligence services and civil rights violations could be cut.

This is a false dichotomy...

Re:Technology is becoming more advanced (1)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#40094945)

This is a false dichotomy...

It's not a dichotomy, false or otherwise.

Can the phone call for help? (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 years ago | (#40094557)

Cops are always saying that they don't have a right to search a location based on the "Find My iPhone" signal.

After you've tracked down the location, and you bring the cops along, can you make the iPhone call out at top volume, "HELP! POLICE! SAVE ME!"?

Re:Can the phone call for help? (1)

FunPika (1551249) | about 2 years ago | (#40094797)

Apparently the "Find my iPhone" app they were using has the ability to start playing a loud alarm.

Here's something I would like to know (1)

corisco (1038076) | about 2 years ago | (#40094621)

How many cops does it take to find an iPhone ?

uneducated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40094635)

it just proves your cops are uneducated rejects that couldn't get a job anywhere else on planet earth...
stuck in the 80's america...

Took ten... (0)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#40094657)

So apparently it's easier to pull over Sam Roberts than it is to find an iPhone transmitting its location.

Wrong Conclusion (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 2 years ago | (#40094863)

'If 10 cops who know a neighborhood can't find an iPhone that's broadcasting its location, that shouldn't give you a lot of confidence in your own vigilante recovery of a stolen iProduct

Uh, no. That gives me no confidence in those cops. Sorry, but that doesn't speak to the effectiveness of Find My iPhone - it speaks to the effectiveness of _10_ cops...

Find My iPhone is great, but not a panacea (5, Interesting)

MichaelJ (140077) | about 2 years ago | (#40094893)

Just this past weekend my wife lost her iPhone after stopping at a highway rest area. I knew from Find My iPhone that it was at the rest area, but there was no phone on the grass at the GPS point. Then the point moved to the far side of the parking lot. It wasn't there, either. It moved several more times, all of which led to the conclusion that it had to be inside - that despite claiming a location and even drawing an accuracy circle on the map, it was not where it claimed to be. I searched inside several buildings, had the attendants check the ladies' room (all the while using Find My iPhone to make the phone beep).

Finally, after over an hour, an attendant and I went out to the dumpsters in back, stuck our heads in, and heard it ringing. That guided us to the right bag, and lo and behold, there it was.

So yes, Find My iPhone was terrific in that without it, I would never have been able to recover my wife's iPhone. However, given what I went through in an otherwise relatively empty area, I can't imagine what one would do if the signal was coming from near a large apartment complex, a school, a parking garage, even a dense neighborhood of single-family homes could show the GPS point in the wrong location if the phone's inside. Sometimes it's just better to take advantage of the remote wipe feature and start all over.

I cannot, of course, defend in any way the use of police resources in this particular case. I'm sure we'd all want to help our kid out similarly, but I imagine the smart among us would have done it informally and off the clock.

just buy a 40$ tracfone (0)

issicus (2031176) | about 2 years ago | (#40094965)

those things are disposable

Don't cut cops? (0)

superdave80 (1226592) | about 2 years ago | (#40095083)

The next time I see a bunch of Oakland police union leaders screaming about not cutting anymore cops, I'm going to laugh in their face and show them this article.

The fact that ten cops have time to dick around on such a trivial thing indicates they have too many cops already.

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