Thieves that go after Apple iPhones and iPads have become such a huge issue in New York that the NYPD has assigned a team of cops to work with Apple to get the stolen goods returned to their rightful owners. In December, it was reported that crime in the city had risen, with a significant increase in Apple product thefts.
The partnership between Apple and the NYPD is remarkable because Apple does not typically get involved in the retrieval of stolen goods, so this new task force could potentially mark a shift in the Cupertino-based company’s policy of non-involvement.
According to the New York Post, when an Apple device is stolen, NYPD detectives try to get tracking numbers, either from the victim or from online records. These numbers, which are otherwise known as the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity, are then passed onto Apple.
Apple takes the numbers and uses them to locate the stolen devices’ current locations, which are then relayed back to the NYPD. Apple can track the devices even after they have been registered with a different wireless provider, which could mean Apple devices will get a lot harder to steal.
“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. “It is being done to learn the pattern who is stealing.”
Apparently, one iPad was tracked all the way to the Dominican Republic and returned via an officer who had been assigned to Santo Domingo. The new partnership was also used to track a man who had been selling stolen iPads at a city bus stop.
Though there’s no word on whether law enforcement agencies in other states plan to work alongside Apple to find stolen devices, iPads and iPhones in New York may soon be far safer as potential iDevice thieves get wind of the partnership between the NYPD and Apple.