Mayor introduces ordinance to crack down on cell phone theft

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There is a new push to reduce cell phone robberies, led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as he introduced an ordinance to make it harder to sell stolen phones

These robberies happen quickly and often violently, when someone reaches over, snatches your cell phone, and it's gone.

"This is something that has touched our family's life," Emanuel said.

Outside the mayor's Ravenswood home in 2014, a thief attacked his teenage son with the goal of stealing his cell phone.

"Nothing life threatening for Zachariah," he said. "You have seen situations in other cases where it has been life threatening."

Emanuel's ordinance would require secondhand cell phone dealers to cross check phones against a police database for stolen cell phones.

"If they don't know the passcode, it's a red flag," said Kevin Wright, ExperiMac owner.

ExperiMac already uses that database.

Chicago police estimate that one in three thefts involve a stolen cell phone; there were over 14,000 reported in the city last year. And they are resold for big bucks.

"When we resell it, we're reselling for a lot more than that thief is getting," Wright said.

And it's that profit off crime the mayor is out to eliminate.

"I think the business owners already taking in stolen phones are probably not going to pay too much attention to this," Wright said.
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