Theft of iDevices Is Rampant In New York City

New Yorkers love their Apple products, and apparently so do the city's crooks.

It's gotten bad enough that the New York Police Department has set up a special division to catch those who steal iPhones and iPads.

When a device is stolen, NYPD investigators try to find out its tracking number, called the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity, either through the victim's knowledge or by requesting online records. Once that's accomplished, they notify Police Headquarters, which then gets in touch with Apple in California.

According to the New York Post, the company can track down a device's current location even if it's already been re-registered with a new wireless carrier. Since many stolen devices are sold, if buyers purchase a stolen iPhone or iPad second-hand and the cops track it down, the device could still be taken away.

"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 to the Post. "It is being done to learn the pattern [of] who is stealing."

The vast majority of devices that are stolen turn up somewhere within New York City's five boroughs, but there are times when the hunt for the missing product ends up going international.

One example that was cited involved recovering an iPad that ended up all the way in the Dominican Republic, where an NYPD officer inexplicably assigned to Santo Domingo staked out a bust stop, found the perpetrator and arrested him.

First of all: What? The NYPD has cops in the Dominican Republic?

Secondly, this must be a bigger issue than previously thought. Wireless organizations are currently developing an industry-wide database intended to track stolen products, but apparently that won't be ready until November.

Until then, the NYPD's got its hands full.

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