Chicago Police would have another tool to track cell phone thefts that account for 30 percent of all thefts citywide, under a crackdown advanced Wednesday.
The City Council’s License Committee agreed to require retail stores not operated by major cell phone companies like Sprint and Verizon to keep detailed information about individuals who sell them previously-used phones and about the devices themselves.
South Side Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) said he introduced the ordinance with an eye toward making cell phone theft a little less lucrative and unlocking stolen phones a bit more difficult.
“Those cell phones are taken into stores. They are re-programmed. The thief gets an exceptional amount of money, and it’s easy money. And the unsuspected victim now has to deal with the problems. And those problems affect identify theft, banking institutions, permanent injury and temporary injury,” Cochran said.
“We are not targeting the legitimate cell phone dealers: the AT&T’s, the Apple’s, the Verizon Wireless. They are not those kinds of stores that will take a phone, pay for it over the counter and let a person walk out. You have to have a contract. It has to be tied to you. What we are trying to do is [target] those small cell phone stores that are supporting this kind of crime.”
The ordinance is patterned after the city’s pawn shop ordinance, which already requires those establishments to keep a detailed log of stolen and fenced goods.