CHICAGO (CBS) – Cell phone owners listen up.
A new city ordinance aims to make your most valued property of little value to thieves.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker explains.
Sam Garza had his cell phone stolen from a bar.
“It was very alarming,” Garza said. “I had my credit information on there, my address, my email.”
Garza is among the 14,000 Chicagoans who were victims of cell phone thieves last year. And it continues to be a hot crime because thieves can get $300 to $400 a pop.
Two weeks ago, over the course of just two days there were four incidents in Wicker Park.
“Armed offenders are jumping out of the vehicles, surprising pedestrians, catching them off guard, supplying a handgun and robbing them,” said Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd).
Hopkins is among aldermen enthusiastically supporting a new ordinance that would require cell phone store owners to check a database before buying, selling or activating a used phone to make sure it’s not stolen.
“This new ordinance basically takes the profit out it and there will be no value to them and we are confident that that’s going to help in driving down a lot of these robberies,” Chicago Police Department Organized Crime Bureau Chief Anthony Riccio said.
Joe Yousuf sells used phones at his shop and said checking a database prevents store owners from losing money on a stolen phone.
“I really like it,” Yousuf said. “It should be so people don’t steal phones and they cannot sell phones.”
Police say ordinance will be strictly enforced, by the organized crime division.
“So if there is a phone that is activated that’s in that database, that’s on that list, we are going to go in there and shut that business down,” Hopkins said.
If your phone is stolen, you will want to report it to your carrier as well as Chicago Police to make sure that it ends up on the list.