A 23-year-old Port Coquitlam man working at the Best Buy warehouse in Langley is accused of stealing iPads, iPhones and computers from his work and selling them on Craigslist.
On Nov. 8, Langley RCMP were called by a loss prevention officer at the Best Buy warehouse to report an internal theft of tens of thousands of dollars worth of iPhones, iPads and computers, said Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Marks.
Police arrested the suspect for theft while he was at Best Buy.
Langley RCMP’s street enforcement unit (responsible for property crime) took over the investigation. They collected information leading to a search warrant of a home in Port Coquitlam.
Investigators allege the electronics were being sold on Craigslist. More than $12,000 cash was seized during the search.
Additionally $23,000 worth of iPad’s, iPhones and computers were located and seized in the residence.
Officers will continue the investigation and review evidence in an effort to determine who purchased the stolen products, said Marks.
It’s believed the thefts had been taking place over the last month and was discovered as a result of the vigilant efforts of the loss prevention officer from Best Buye.
The suspect was released from custody to appear in Surrey Provincial Court on Jan. 31, 2014.
Langley RCMP offered consumers some tips to protect themselves when buying cellphones privately and secondhand.
If purchasing a secondhand phone, as for the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number before taking possession of the phone.
Then, simply go to www.protectyourdata.ca and enter the IMEI into the query field. If the phone has been blacklisted, it cannot be activated on any Canadian Wireless provider, which then renders the phone useless. The blacklist will also include devices reported lost or stolen by US carriers.
If a phone is lost or stolen, report it to police and the wireless provider, who will add it to the blacklist database.
ProtectYourData.ca is also a hub of information where visitors can find numerous resources about the critical importance of protecting the data on their smartphones, as well as how to help protect themselves from becoming a victim of device theft.
It is imperative that customers contact their service provider to immediately report a lost or stolen phone to have their device deactivated. It is only when the device has been reported that the service provider can then add the device to the blacklist. All instances of personal theft should of course be reported to local law enforcement as well.
To help protect Canadians when purchasing a wireless device from a private source, the ProtectYourData.ca website now features a convenient tool that allows Canadian consumers to simply enter the IMEI number of a wireless device to find out immediately if that device has been blacklisted in Canada.
If the IMEI number has been blacklisted, that device will not be able to be used on any participating Canadian network. The consumer look-up feature, the first of its kind in the world that utilizes the GSMA IMEI Database, will include blacklisted devices that have been reported as lost or stolen as of Sept. 30, 2013 and beyond.