The Metropolitan Police have reported that a mobile phone that was recorded as being stolen in Croydon has been returned to its owner after police managed to track it down when the phone was sold on eBay.
The victim, a 32 year-old woman, reported to police that her phone had been stolen in Croydon town centre on Monday, 10 March. Initial enquiries failed to identify any suspects, as the shop’s CCTV had not recorded the incident.
However, police received an alert via their NMPR system that the phone’s IMEI number had been checked by somebody using the CheckMEND service – a service that allows people to see if a phone has been reported stolen or been blocked.
Through further enquiries, officers managed to identify that the phone had been put up for sale on the auction website within hours of if being reported stolen. Officers eventually identified the seller and on Thursday 17 April a 29-year-old woman was subsequently interviewed by police. She claimed to have found the phone in the town centre and decided to sell it on. She provided officers with the details of the person to whom she had sold the phone, and after further enquiries, the police were able to retrieve the phone from the buyer and return it to the owner on 17 April.
The 29-year-old woman was cautioned for the offence of theft by finding.
PC Robert Sidney from the Broad Green Safer Neighbourhoods Team, who investigated the case said:
This case highlights two important points. Firstly, if you’re buying a phone second-hand or over the Internet, then it is definitely worth checking to see if it has been reported stolen. You can do this through the CheckMEND website and whilst there is a small fee, it could save you a lot of money later on.
Secondly, whether you find a phone or any other expensive item or gadget in the street, then you could be committing an offence by simply keeping it. You should contact police or attend a police station to hand it in. If it doesn’t get claimed by the owner then it will be given to the finder, but if you just keep it then you could be committing a criminal offence.
To view the source stories please see:
Croydon Guardian: croydonguardian.co.uk/news/