Cincinnati Council could vote to reduce cell phone thefts

Sep 5, 2013

Cincinnati Council could vote on an ordinance next week that's designed to reduce cell phone theft.  

Right now someone could take your mobile device and get cash for it in just about 10 minutes at so called pop-up cell phone stores.  

Council Member Chris Seelbach said the new law will require these businesses to be licensed just like pawn shops.

“Which means that they will have to keep a record of every transaction, that they will have to take a photo ID of the person they are buying it from, record the serial number, the date of transaction,” Seelbach said.  “This will slow down the process to make it much harder to sell stolen cell phones.”

For criminals, it's an easy way to get cash.  Seelbach said it also means big bucks for so called pop-up cell phone stores.

“They can have somebody walk in, they can give them $50 cash and they walk out,” Seelbach said.  “They take it (cell phone) in the back, get rid of the serial number and erase all the data and all of a sudden they can sell it for a profit and that’s legal right now.”

The police department will hand deliver letters to business notifying them about the new ordinance once it's approved.  Seelbach says the Federal Communications Commission has stated that one in three robberies now involve taking a phone.