Thefts of the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad have become so prevalent in the Big Apple, that cops have a name for it. "Applepicking" occured 4,000 more times in 2012 than in 2011 and single handedly was responsible for the rise in crime last year in New York City
. Now, the cops have assigned a special team
to work directly with Apple to get stolen devices back into the hands of victims. When an Apple mobile device is stolen, its unique IMEI number (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) is reported to Apple. Apple then can report back to New York's Finest the location of each device even if it is running on a different carrier than when it was originally purchased.
One stolen Apple iPad was traced to the Dominican Republic and with the help of an NYPD intelligence officer stationed in Santo Domingo, the tablet was recovered. Another time, Apple helped the NYPD bust a guy selling stolen iPads by a bus stop. The cops say that 74% of stolen Apple devices end up popping up somewhere in the 5 boroughs
. Unfortunately, most of the devices confiscated were sold to unknowing buyers who didn't know they were purchasing a stolen device. But the original owner does have the right to his Apple iPhone or Apple iPad, even if someone else bought it afterward. To prevent something like that from happening, your best bet is to buy an Apple device from a legitimate Apple dealer
, or from Apple itself. We've already shown you what can happen if you trust someone in a parking lot trying to convince you to buy his iPad for a great price
Kevin Mahaffey co-founder of cellphone security firm Lookout, said that the use of IMEI numbers were always seen as a key to busting handset and tablet thieves, but getting together with law enforcement had always been the hard part, until now. The wireless industry's own listing of stolen smartphones and tablets is not expected to be up and running until November.