The theft of Apple devices is so rampant in New York that a team of cops has been assigned to work with the tech giant to get the stolen gadgets back, The Post has learned.
Every time an Apple device is stolen, detectives attempt to get tracking numbers from the victim or online records.
That number, known as the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity, is then shared with the officers in Police Headquarters who pass it on to Apple.
The California-based company then informs the NYPD of the device’s current location — and it can track it even if it was reregistered with a different wireless provider.
“We’re looking for ways to find individuals who have stolen Apple products and return the products to their original owners,” said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. “It is being done to learn the pattern who is stealing.”
Cops also hope the partnership helps catch the crooks who are taking and reselling the devices.
One stolen iPad was tracked to the Dominican Republic and recovered with the help of an NYPD intelligence cop assigned to Santo Domingo.
In another case, it busted a man suspected of selling stolen iPads at a city bus stop by tracking them with Apple’s help.
“We staked out the bus stop, ID’d the suspect and arrested him. We recovered the iPad,” said Browne, who noted 74 percent of all stolen Apple devices resurface within the five boroughs.
Many of the confiscated devices are bought on the second-hand market by people who don’t know they were stolen.
Even in those cases, the police may confiscate the device to return it to the original owner, sources said.
“This technique of identifying stolen phones by their unique identifiers has been around for a number of years and is technically rather simple — the difficult part has been integrating with law enforcement to track down the stolen devices,” said Kevin Mahaffey co-founder of cellphone security firm Lookout.
The wireless industry’s own database of stolen smartphones and tablets isn’t expected to be functional until November.
Republished with permission of The New York Post