Crime Fighting with Cellphones

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With the help of a little Dragnet style sleuthing, Detective Lee Reiber was able to put a criminal in jail by utilizing his Blackberry. Dan Kincaid is a man who was accused of breaking into a home in Boise, Idaho. Testimony alone wasn't enough to put Kincaid in jail so Reiber seized his Blackberry phone and found messages describing the burglary. That was enough to put Kincaid in jail.

Detectives are taking to cellphones as an aide to put criminals behind bars. They are a gold mine of information, but the law enforcement is still behind the curve, Kincaid told the New York Times.


The police departments aren't that far behind the curve. Reiber says that the Boise police department has a "Faraday bag" that is made of copper, nickel and silver that prevents the phone from making or receiving calls after it is confiscated. This would prevent an accomplice from flooding the phone with calls and text messages to push the old information out of the memory and drain the battery.

Along with hard data—including phone numbers, calls and messages—the latest technology of high-resolution camera phones are aiding the police departments in capturing crooks. One instance was seen when Reiber caught a local drug dealer after finding pictures of marijuana plans on his cellphone.


There are flaws and problems that exist with cellphone forensics. Almost every manufacturer has their unique data cable, so Reiber and other detectives must keep a stockpile of cables for every type of phone out there. Also learning the operating systems on the phones can be troublesome.

Fighting Crime With Cellphones' Clues [NY Times]