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Iphone Crime Government United States

iPhone X Purchase Leads To Police, Battering Ram, and Handcuffs (cbslocal.com) 411

An anonymous reader quotes CBS SFBayArea: On one recent morning, Rick Garcia and his wife Shannon Knuth woke up to a posse of San Francisco police officers at their front door. "I peered through the peephole and I saw a police officer and a battering ram," Garcia said. "We heard 'SFPD' and 'warrant,' and I was like 'what's going on?'" Knuth remembers. It felt like a nightmare yet it was real. Garcia says that within seconds he was dragged into the hallway of his apartment complex, handcuffed, then whisked away to the Taraval Station.... Meanwhile Knuth, who had just got out of the shower, was ordered to sit on the couch... After rifling through the apartment Knuth says the officers finally told her what they were looking for: Her husband's iPhone X.

According to the warrant, it was stolen but Knuth showed them the receipt which proved her husband bought it. Once the officers realized their mistake they called the police station and a squad car brought Garcia home. "They gathered their pry bar and their battering ram and they left," he said. So how could a mistake like that happen? It's still unclear but it turns out Garcia and Knuth bought the iPhone at an Apple store at Stonestown Galleria just a few weeks after 300 iPhone Xs were stolen from a UPS truck in the mall parking lot.

One former police chief says the way it was handled "kind of boggles the mind...

"This was clearly an incident that should have just been a knock and talk, a couple detectives come to the door, knock on the door and they would have gathered the same info that they gathered after they put him in handcuffs and hauled him off to jail."
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iPhone X Purchase Leads To Police, Battering Ram, and Handcuffs

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  • Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 21, 2018 @01:41PM (#55972749)

    I wish the police would put this kind of effort in to recovering my stolen bike rather than a multi-billion dollar companies product.

    But I guess that doesn't fit their mandate of protecting large corporations profits.

    • by sycodon ( 149926 )

      Salaries, probably overtime, equipment, and very likely a payout at least for damage to property if not a settlement fee.

      All for a fucking $1.2k phone.

      Find the perps that took them vs finding what at most is unwitting buyers (if they buy them off the streets) is what's important.

      • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:08PM (#55972911)

        Finding the buyers can recover the stolen property.
        Finding the buyers can lead you to the sellers.

        • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

          by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <social@bronstrup.com> on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:44PM (#55973141) Journal
          Yes, but you don't have to ARREST the buyers, unless you have grounds to believe they knew they were buying stolen goods; they've done nothing wrong. Find them, question them, let them point you in the right direction, but don't arrest innocent people.
          • Re:Priorities (Score:4, Informative)

            by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @03:23PM (#55973369)

            I never said otherwise. I was only refuting the argument that the police should not be looking for buyers. I agree completely that there is no reason to batter their doors down with a ram.

          • Re:Priorities (Score:4, Interesting)

            by sabri ( 584428 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @03:32PM (#55973415)

            but don't arrest innocent people.

            Innocent people are being arrested every day. The legal requirements to get an arrest warrant are very narrow, there is no need to proof "beyond a reasonable doubt".

            That said, I'm sure SFPD will find themselves in court pretty soon, as the amount of force used was pretty unreasonable, not to mention the way that the lady was treated by the police.

            In the end, there is only one question to ask: was this a reasonable thing to do, considering the type of alleged crime? I'm quite sure this will result in a six figure, of not seven, payout.

        • by sycodon ( 149926 )

          Property Crimes, even at $300k, are not worth someone potentially being killed, which happens not that infrequently during these kinds of raids.

        • This phone was bought at a mall store, and the wife had a receipt detailing exactly that. But by that time, the bacon had already hauled her husband off in chains - according to the TV News report, without telling him what they were looking for or even reading him his rights.

          They have a big fat payday coming.

          • Miranda warning (Score:5, Insightful)

            by BankRobberMBA ( 4918083 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @07:32PM (#55974713)

            Cops are not obligated to read you your rights until they begin an official interrogation. As such, it is in their interests to postpone that as long as possible so that you might incriminate yourself before you are Mirandized. Anything you say will be admissible as long as they were not 'questioning' you at the time. Yes, this does suck. No, you will not prevail on appeal.

            Do not talk to cops in their official capacity. They are professionals at talking to you, you are an amateur at talking to them.

            Further, if you are talking and it is not being actively recorded, cops can mis-remember what you said and how you said it. Nothing can stop the dishonest cop from lying, but silence will prevent the many honest cops from mis-remembering.

            So, stop talking. Seriously.

            • Re:Miranda warning (Score:5, Insightful)

              by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @08:01PM (#55974865) Homepage

              Damn Straight. The first words our of your mouth should be "I want my lawyer." Then shut the fuck up till you get one.

            • Re:Miranda warning (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Tuidjy ( 321055 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @11:42PM (#55975627)

              Cops are not obligated to read you your rights until they begin an official interrogation. As such, it is in their interests to postpone that as long as possible so that you might incriminate yourself before you are Mirandized. Anything you say will be admissible as long as they were not 'questioning' you at the time.

              Are you a corrupt cop trying to mislead people, or are you just completely ignorant of what you're talking about?

              This is how it works:
              - first of all, the police are not obligated to read you your Miranda rights, at all. It is in their interest to do so as soon as they detain you.
              - if you are detained in any way, that is, if your freedom of movement and action is restricted, nothing you can say can be used against you unless you have already been read your Miranda rights.
              - if you are not under any restrictions, i.e. free to move, leave, etc. but talk to the officers, everything you reveal can be used in court. That includes stuff you show them, contents of areas where you invite them, and of course anything you say.

              In the specific case, the police had already arrested the man. They have no interest in delaying the Miranda briefing. What police officers do is NOT detain the person, and just talk to him. Completely different situation.

              As for not talking to police officers... it depends. I've been in law enforcement myself (as military, long time ago, in a country far far away) and have talked to US police officers while aware of the pertaining laws multiple times. It's never gotten me in trouble, and has often saved me a lot of inconvenience and probably a fair bit of money. Police are people. They respond well to being treated as such. All you have to do is be less abrasive than the people whose interests conflict with yours... although if those are the police officers themselves, tough shit.

              I am not a lawyer, though. Clamming up when confronted by police may save you a ton of trouble! But the first thing you should ask a police officer is "Am I detained, sir/ma'am?"

              • by Cederic ( 9623 )

                But the first thing you should ask a police officer is "Am I detained, sir/ma'am?"

                I'd ditch the sir/ma'am. It immediately puts you in a position of showing respect to the individual (even if you only meant it to their uniform) and while I wouldn't show contempt, I think it's important to demonstrate that they have no superiority over you.

                My interactions with the police (in the UK, Germany, America and Morocco) have all been respectful and relaxed, without use of honorifics. Even when I've broken the law, an opening smile and relaxed greeting has massively helped the subsequent conversati

              • Are you a corrupt cop trying to mislead people, or are you just completely ignorant of what you're talking about?

                Neither, as it happens. I'm a convicted bank robber, arrested and questioned by local police and the FBI. Maybe you were in military law enforcement, cool. You have detention and Miranda all wrong.

                I spent years behind bars reading case law and statutes. Some states have constitutions that provide more protections than the US Constitution but they're all different and I can't speak to those. I CAN speak about the way the federal system works, though.

                A cop can stop you for investigation of any reasonable

      • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

        by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:17PM (#55972973) Journal

        Sue Apple for slander also?

        It was presumably Apple that saw the device activation and told the police about the phone and its location.

        • But apple also know who made legitimate purchases. Why don't they subtract the IMEI numbers of purchased phones from the suspect IMEI numbers? Its not like its an ambiguous identifier. Do it in one line of python.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jeremi ( 14640 )

        All for a fucking $1.2k phone.

        No, all for fucking 300 $1.2k phones, aka $360,000 worth of stolen merchandise. The police were hoping that they'd find all of the phones (and the thieves) at the same location.

        • And even that is a drop in the bucket compared to slowing the general unlawful behavior of a population. With police who don't care, thefts would increase.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          No, all for fucking 300 $1.2k phones, aka $360,000 worth of stolen merchandise. The police were hoping that they'd find all of the phones (and the thieves) at the same location.

          Yeah, assuming Apple's list was almost right and this was like one phone showing up of 300 stolen it smells like an America's Dumbest Criminals episode. Perp steals 300 iPhones, keeps one for himself or his cousin Bob because they need a new phone. I'd probably just surround the place and knock though, what are you going to do flush 300 phones down the toilet?

        • "No, all for fucking 300 $1.2k phones, aka $360,000 worth of stolen merchandise. The police were hoping that they'd find all of the phones (and the thieves) at the same location."

          Yeah, they are stupid that way.

          Thieves stealing GPS-equipped gadgets activating one with all the loot nearby, do not exist anymore.

        • by sycodon ( 149926 )

          Really, I don't give a fuck what they were looking for.

          Even $300k isn't worth potentially killing someone in a raid like that. What did they think they were going to do, flush them all down the toilet?

    • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:13PM (#55972945) Journal
      I wish the police would not use battering rams to recover stolen property.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I wish the police would not use battering rams to recover stolen property.

        You'll be glad to know then that there was no stolen property recovered.

    • Probably because a $300,000 heist is far more likely to be part of an organized crime ring and/or terrorism funding operation than a $300 bike.

      This is the same reason why the FBI doesn't care if you paid $1000 to a Nigerian scammer, but does care if you took out a $100,000 second mortgage to pay a Nigerian scammer.

      • How big is a box of 300 iPhones? They come in pretty small boxes, and 300 is only a 10x10x3 cuboid. I wouldn't be surprised if you could easily pick up a box of 300 iPhones and walk off with it. It's just as likely to be an underpaid UPS employee wandering off with a package or leaving the back of their van open during a delivery so someone else walks off with it. Walking off with a box that's small enough to carry sounds much more like opportunist theft than organised crime.
  • by Bruce66423 ( 1678196 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @01:45PM (#55972777)

    It is sad to see such mistakes, and defence lawyers should highlight them in court when police evidence is supposed to be taken seriously. There is a serious problem with the police; it requires a certain type of personality to spend one's life confronting bad guys, and the culture of many police departments is toxic. However in this case there is the added element of a warrant being issued: someone made a false statement to the judge who issued it, and that should also be investigated.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They are lucky they weren't shot for having their hands near their waists

      (you know, the location where most humans' hands naturally hang)

    • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @01:59PM (#55972845) Homepage
      To the contrary. It's not a problem of the police. It's a problem of people wanting such a police force. If you elect officials on a "tough on crime" platform, you get police brutality and police actions out of proportions. If you approve sales of armored vehicles and assault rifles to police forces, you get a military force instead of a police. And instead of a friend and helper, you get an occupation force.

      In the end, you get what you deserve.

      • by saloomy ( 2817221 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:09PM (#55972913)

        This. We elected and installed these asshats. The police are overbearing and overtly militarized. There's a reason you can't use the military for civil ip law enforcement, so they went around and created a "non-military military".

        Tough on crime and tough on drugs is "weak on civil liberties".

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Actually, I think I would prefer the actual military. They have Rules of Engagement that would have prevented a lot of civilian deaths, and a lot of cops would be summarily court-martialed or put in military prison for what they've done.

      • And instead of a friend and helper, you get an occupation force.

        I have lots of friends and helpers; I don't ned taxpayer money to pay someone to do that. I'm sorry if you do. What I want taxpayer money to go towards is creating an armed force willing to go into situations that make my friends and helpers shit themselves. What would you suggest?

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          So some guy buys an over-priced iPhone and you find that to be a situation that makes your friends and helpers shit themselves?

          First, I suggest less wimpy friends and helpers. Next, I suggest police that understand a measured response to a situation. Also who don't kill people when they get bad information.

          Remember, next time they get it wrong, you could be the person who ends up dead or gets his door smashed in in the middle of the night.

          • So some guy buys an over-priced iPhone and you find that to be a situation that makes your friends and helpers shit themselves?

            No, not at all. Why would you suggest something so stupid?

            Next, I suggest police that understand a measured response to a situation. Also who don't kill people when they get bad information.

            This is like saying "I suggest hiring programmers who don't write any bugs". The more of your comment I read, the more ridiculous you sound.

            Remember, next time they get it wrong, you could be the person who ends up dead or gets his door smashed in in the middle of the night.

            Wow, really, it could be me??? The thought never occurred to me. I totally thought that I was completely immune to any mistakes or accidents.

            Now that you've made me think about it ... would you say it could be me burning to death on a highway tomorrow because some jackass was following too closely???

            Goddamn. I

      • We can have tough on crime *and* not break down doors and shoot everyone for a stolen phone. There's a huge grey area in there that the police need to go back to.
        • by anegg ( 1390659 )

          When phrases like "tough on crime" are used I want them to refer to the consequences handed out to people who are found guilty of crime in a court of law. I wish for the police to be always professional and enforce the law, making arrests when appropriate, but I don't want them being "tough on crime." I want prosecutors and judges to be "tough on crime."

          • by BankRobberMBA ( 4918083 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @08:34PM (#55975033)

            Convicted felon, here.

            I mostly agree with you.

            I would just point out that as the judges get tougher, the stakes get higher. At some point you start to incentivize behavior that you really don't want. Not too bad at the lower levels. At the higher levels, though, perpetrators will start to rapidly escalate violence because they feel they have more to lose by getting caught. This is known in prison as holding court out in the street (apparently this is a movie reference?).

            When I got caught coming out of the bank, I surrendered peacefully because I knew it would not be the end of my life. When you make a guy feel that it is the end he may decide differently.

            At some point I think we need to be looking at outcomes.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        I don't recall ever voting for someone because of a tough on crime stance. In fact, I tend to see that as a negative when sizing up candidates exactly because I want an effective system of justice and corrections, not goons with guns tossing people in cages using the nearest convenient excuse.

      • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:48PM (#55973173) Journal

        Haha, Flaimbaite, but so true.

        The USA is the only nation I'm aware of where police officers legaly can trick unsuspecting citizens, or more important: tourists! into commiting a crime. Get away with it, and get the victim convicted.

        How retarded is that ....

        Police officers that get promoted on numbers of prisoners taken or convicted. Sherrifs (re)elected on the amount of prisoners or convicted ... ha ha ha. Same for state attorneys.

        Judges owning prisons. Prisons run by private corporations instead of the state.

        A law system where a 'grand jury' can say: no the case where this white officer shot and killed a black guy into the back does not deservve to be investigated.

        A law system were a culprit like O Simpson get sentenced unguilty in a criminal case but gets called guilty in a civil case to pay damages for the murder of his wife, ha ha ha ha.

        Your country is so retarded I doubt there are many that are worth ...

        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          The O.J. Simpson case *is* weird. I'm rather sure he was guilty. However.....
          It is appropriate that the standard for criminal conviction is higher than the standard for civil torts.

          It's also true that I encountered several people who assumed that he was innocent, and only charged because he was black. And I only assumed that he was guilty because he had a history of wife beating, and this is often associated with murder. I didn't evaluate the evidence myself. But it was a highly political case because

    • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:18PM (#55972981) Homepage Journal

      It is sad to see such mistakes

      These are not "mistakes". They did this deliberately. It's how modern police operates. They think they are military, and that everyone else are hostiles.
      Don't ever think that modern plod are your friends or even public servants. There's nothing servile at all in the way they operate.

    • it requires a certain type of personality to spend one's life confronting bad guys

      Poor excuse. All over the world police don't have a problem but still spend their entire life confronting bad guys.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 21, 2018 @01:46PM (#55972781)

    Any relation to Donald Knuth?

    I've really learned a great deal from TAOCP. I've gotten to page 10 of book 1.

  • by John Jorsett ( 171560 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @01:46PM (#55972783)
    It will be interesting to see what the cops claimed in their application for a search warrant, such as their reason to suspect the phone was stolen. Somebody screwed up royally here.
    • If they were stolen from a truck, Apple probably had a range of serial numbers (or some other identifier like an IMEI) for the phones that should have been on the truck. I could easily see them getting that wrong in some way or accidentally adding a few additional devices to the list of those suspected stolen. Since someone had bought this one and activated it, it showed up on the grid. I don't know whether or not Apple can see that themselves, but they would have given the numbers to the major carriers who
      • The 'carriers give a shit' everywhere.
        But no one informs them.

        If you think the world outside of the US is lawless, you are an idiot.

      • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @03:38PM (#55973467) Homepage Journal

        If they were stolen from a truck, Apple probably had a range of serial numbers (or some other identifier like an IMEI) for the phones that should have been on the truck

        This makes no sense. Ranges of serial numbers are of little value. Apple should know the exact serial number and IMEI of every stolen phone. Apple absolutely does know the IMEI of every phone they have sold. Its a simple matter to subtract the sold phones from the stolen phones before sending a list to the police.

    • by borcharc ( 56372 ) *

      It doesn't matter what they say. If you spent some time reviewing issued search warrants it becomes obvious that judges will sign anything put in front of them. They consider themselves on the same team as the police, American justice is beyond broken.

    • It would not surprise me if Apple gave them a list of serial numbers of phones which were stolen from the store which included all of the iphones which were supposed to be at that store...AND that Apple also told the police that "this one is registered to this person at this address", with no one at Apple ever cross referencing their database to notice that the owner had actually bought it from the store.
  • ... blue uniforms are real, cops are social fiction." - Robert Anton Wilson

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @01:50PM (#55972809)
    Instead of being trained not to over-react in situations, it appears as if police are being trained to over-react in situations.
  • Time to sue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chromaexcursion ( 2047080 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @01:59PM (#55972843)
    Wrongful arrest, and a laundry list of other complaints,
    This is SO blatant, it will settle out of court, for a lot of money.
    • by kqc7011 ( 525426 )
      If there is a settlement the money ought to come from two people, the officer who requested the warrant and the judge who approved it. However, Qualified Immunity will prevent this. And Qualified Immunity is a legal policy, not a law that has been passed and signed into force.
      • If there is a settlement the money ought to come from two people, the officer who requested the warrant and the judge who approved it. However, Qualified Immunity will prevent this. And Qualified Immunity is a legal policy, not a law that has been passed and signed into force.

        There was nothing wrong with the warrant. What was wrong was that the police didn't take the warrant, knock on the door, and ask if they could have a look at the iPhone, but went in with brute force first. I know there are situations where they will break in unannounced, if they suspect armed and dangerous people in the house, or they suspect that evidence could be destroyed very quickly (drugs going down the toilet), but neither was the case here.

    • Re:Time to sue (Score:4, Informative)

      by borcharc ( 56372 ) * on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:49PM (#55973183)

      So what? They will hand over some of the taxpayers dollars and continue to do it again. Monetary damages have no effect on the police, they don't care.

    • The courts have already proven that if police "believe" they are following the law then they can't be held accountable for wrong doing. Was the response blown out of proportion? Yes. Were any laws actually broken? Sadly not.

  • Do this for my wrangler.

  • The UK sounds like such a police-state shithole.
  • New sales slogan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:16PM (#55972963) Journal

    "Nobody's got beaten over an Android"

  • Sue the department back to the stone ages. It's the only way they'll change their "M.O."

    • by kobaz ( 107760 )

      That only works if you're a billionaire...

      Look at all the recent cases where police shot and killed unarmed people, beat suspects to death, and all around committed crimes that would put anyone else in gitmo. And what happened after it all went to court????

      NOTHING!

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        It doesn't even work for people who have legitimate claims. They're fairly fenced in by accepted losses and settlement amounts, and most people need to get back to living their lives or need the settlement money to get out of the hole being beat senseless and losing their jobs. Plus even the best motivated attorneys are going to advise most of them that whatever the proposed settlement amount is, it's as good as they can expect and that a trial may make it much less or none at all.

        I actually think the civ

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Also sue Apple for selling a phone and then reporting it stolen.

  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:34PM (#55973081)
    sounds like those stolen phones were an inside job, they should be investigating apple store employees and managers
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:36PM (#55973089)
    Guess he doesn't read the news then. Just a few weeks ago it made national news where a "swatting" incident happened and an innocent man was shot dead by police after they got a call claiming that the house where he lived had a hostage situation. Cops showed up in force under the assumption the call could only be true, made no attempt to determine if there was actually a hostage situation or not, and when the owner came out they shot him dead, claiming they thought he was armed. That wasn't the first time police showed up on a swatting call and made no attempt to determine the validity of it before taking action, but the previous ones usually don't end in death of a citizen. Cops routinely shoot unarmed civilians because the cop is "scared". So the only surprise to me is not that the cops went in like this but that the homeowner is still actually alive because I'd have expected a hair trigger hyped up cop to be ready to gun anybody down at a moment's notice.
  • So the public can find out all the names, Judge included that authorized this for a single iPhone?
    Everyone from the Judge, along with all supervisors in the chain of command that signed off, need to removed from public service.

    But that will never happen! They are public servants protected by their unions and the most they get will be a paid week off. And a request to be a little more careful! "NOT" like that will happen ;)

    Until these individuals are removed from public service nothing will change. Pai
  • The dog survive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bruinwar ( 1034968 ) <bruinwar@hCHEETAHotmail.com minus cat> on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:43PM (#55973139)

    The dog is lucky it was small & cute & didn't get shot. She was lucky they allowed her a towel when she was sitting on the couch while law enforcement officers were rummaging through their home. He's lucky he was able to keep his mouth shut & they didn't knock him around a bit before taking him in. They are all lucky to be alive to tell their tale.

  • At minimum I would sue them for a new phone as it came out for the rest of my unnatural life along with free Apple PCs etc.

    And a billion dollars. They screwed up and the man is lucky the police didnâ(TM)t shoot him and his wife.

  • Knuth could've just showed them some of the more cryptic pages from the collected volumes in Art of Computer Programming. They would've run away in terror. Or maybe they would've been arrested for that actually..

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @07:24PM (#55974665)

    Never open the door [youtube.com] for the police.

  • Police State (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @07:58PM (#55974847) Homepage

    How do you know you live in a police state?

    When you fear the police more than you fear the people the police are supposed to be protecting you against.

  • by misnohmer ( 1636461 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @08:12AM (#55977069)

    Do you really want to buy a product from a company which will SWAT you in return (intentionally or by accident)? I guess charging to audio jack adapters hasn't yielded sufficient profit, so now they are desperate to protect every dollar of profit.

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