Good samaritan returns stolen smartphone to rightful owner

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iPhone 5 / Shutterstock

When a local Richmond youth’s iPhone 5 went missing during gym class in late November he figured he would never get it back.

Though he reported the loss to his school administration, he didn’t feel it was significant enough to involve police. The student did, however, contact his cellular phone provider who placed the iPhone’s IMEI number on the blacklist.

Earlier this fall, several Canadian cellular phone providers began utilizing the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association’s National Stolen Device Blacklist to prevent lost or stolen devices from being used on participating Canadian networks. By placing his missing phone on the blacklist, the Richmond student ensured that the missing phone would be useless to whoever had taken it.

Meanwhile, across town, a 17-year-old university student from Surrey who was in need of a phone responded to a Craigslist ad for an iPhone 5. The student met with the seller and paid $300 for the phone. However, after making the deal, he discovered the phone didn’t work. He contacted his cellular phone provider and was advised the phone he had just purchased had been blacklisted.

Our story could very well end here: A Richmond student out a cellphone; a Surrey student out 300 dollars. But instead, police were notified and the Surrey university student voluntarily drove into Richmond and hand delivered the iPhone 5 to the school principal of the Richmond student.

Thanks to the conscientiousness and kindness of the Surrey university student, who has asked not to be identified, we were able to return the phone to its rightful owner, said Cst Reimer of the Richmond RCMP. But better yet: We were also were able to identify a suspect in the theft of the phone. We are now taking steps to hold that person accountable for their actions.

Police remind the public that via the National Stolen Device Blacklist their wireless carrier can blacklist lost or stolen phones and individuals can also protect themselves by checking the blacklist before buying a used cellular phone. It’s really a matter of buyer beware, when buying items from strangers over the Internet, said Cst Reimer. The blacklist can be a valuable tool in helping the consumer protect themselves from being victimized.

We are extremely pleased that the stolen phone blacklist is making a difference, said Ashlee Smith of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association. We encourage all cell phone users to visit www.protectyourdata.ca to find out more about keeping your wireless device safe and tips for personal safety.

Source: RCMP | Image: iPhone 5 via Shutterstock

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