D.C. leads national effort to render stolen cell phones useless

WASHINGTON – While cell phones will probably never be completely theft proof, one way to make crooks stop stealing them is to render the phones useless once they’re stolen. It’s called bricking.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier led the effort to get the cell phone companies to agree to black list stolen phones.

Once a cell phone is reported stolen to the service provider, like Verizon or Sprint, they put that phone on a black list so it cannot be reactivated.

The problem is the phone companies don’t share their black lists with each other, yet. AT&T and T-mobile started sharing their lists last month, Verizon and Sprint maintain their own black lists.

The plan is to create an international database of stolen phones, once a phone is on the list all the phone providers would know to refuse service.

By this time next year, all four of the big carriers are expected to be sharing one comprehensive database.

Earlier this month, Mexico reached an agreement to expand the database south of the border.

WTOP’s Mark Segraves contributed to this report.

Follow @SegravesWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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