We’ve reported on a number of stolen iPhone and iPad cases on iDB over the years. Apple’s gadgets are both popular and expensive, making them the perfect targets for thieves looking for a quick score.

But those thieves better watch out if they ever find themselves on the streets of New York. The city’s police department has assigned a team of cops to work directly with Apple to put a stop to these thefts…

The New York Post reports:

“The theft of Apple devices is so rampant in New York that a team of cops has been assigned to work with the tech giant to get the stolen gadgets back, The Post has learned. Every time an Apple device is stolen, detectives attempt to get tracking numbers from the victim or online records.

That number, known as the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity, is then shared with the officers in Police Headquarters who pass it on to Apple. The California-based company then informs the NYPD of the device’s current location — and it can track it even if it was reregistered with a different wireless provider.”

Of course, identifying stolen phones by their unique identifiers has been done for several years. But this is the first time a dedicated law enforcement squad has teamed up with a tech giant like Apple to do it.

“We’re looking for ways to find individuals who have stolen Apple products and return the products to their original owners,” said an NYPD spokesman. “It is being done to learn the pattern who is stealing.”

The ‘iTheft’ unit has already proven to be successful. They tracked one iPad all the way down to the Dominican Republic, and recovered it. And in another case, they busted a man suspected of selling stolen iPads.

I think this is a neat initiative by the NYPD, and it’s probably very comforting to folks in New York City—where nearly 12,000 Apple devices were stolen last year. And I give a thumbs up to Apple for helping out.

Of course, the four major carriers are said to be working on a centralized database for stolen smartphones and tablets. But it’s not expected to be up and running until November of this year, at the earliest.

  • Wow if this app ever leaked it would be a privacy nightmare. As it is, I bet they *can* track non stolen devices with only an IMEI 🙁 no warrant, no cause

    • Ummm that’s actually an app that’s been out for a while now made by apple…

      • Woman and technology. lol.

      • ViciousV

        No! This is not an app, yes there is an app called Find My iPhone(FMi), but thats not what is being done. The difference between FMi and what the NYPD iTheft is that iTheft is a squad of police officers and the other is an app. FMi uses location services based on a persons Apple ID so reset the phone and your clear. iTheft uses the IMEI # to track it as soon as its connected to any sort of network, have it be wifi or cellular they can track the unique IMEI # that can not be changed or hidden.
        iTheft will not be leaked as its not an app, iTheft officers will contact apple to get the proper info and then do their job and retreave the devices.

    • Its not an app. When NYPD send the unique ID of the stolen phone, Apple server will track the phone and reported back to NYPD. A thief should turn the phone off forever, or never connect to Internet.

  • Interesting… I dig it.

  • Apple should specialize in this. They should bring this service on Boston and other part of world as well. After loosing my i5. I don’t wanna loose my i4s now.

  • Liam Mulcahy


  • Ernie Marin

    It’s amazing, getting paid to find stolen iPhones,actually going to the academy just to learn how to find an iPhone or iPad, yet ABC does it in 1 hour on primetime.

    • WoweeAZeppelin

      So you bitch when the police don’t care about finding your phone…then you bitch when they dedicate resources to finding your phone

      of course ABC “finds” stuff, criminals love being on tv..they dont answer the door for the cops….good luck getting a search warrant with the questionable accuracy of Find My iPhone

      remember who is in the street keeping you safe while you cower behind a keyboard

      Now if someone could teach all the 50-70 year old judges about this crap so they will understand what I’m talking about when I try to get warrants based on UDIDs, MAC addresses, IP’s etc

  • Nice, this should have been implemented years ago; before people started breaking into Apple stores.

  • Haitham

    This is stuped because the theft will turn off the gps and the other track system

    • bloodshed

      don’t comment about a topic you don’t fully understand,
      that way it is you who look “stuped”.

  • Tom

    On android u download find my phone u dont need internet or gps to track phone only with phone signal u text phone number and it gives u phone location

  • Michael Cabrera

    My iphone got stolen from work last year in NYC, the detective told me to give him de IMEI and serial number, he told me he will call me when they find it, guess what? I’m still waiting for the call.