Stolen iPhones being fenced in Russia

About 4,000 iPhone 3GS' stolen from a Belgium warehouse are being fenced in Russia in batches of 100, cash only. The problem is that Interpol has all the serial and IMEI numbers.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

http://artoftheiphone.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/stolen-iphone.jpgTwo weeks ago thieves made off with 3,000-4,000 iPhone 3GS' from a Belgian warehouse belonging to wireless carrier Mobistar. The hot Belgian iPhones are now turning up on the black market in Russia.

According to Cult of Mac (via iPhones.ru) the stolen iPhones are being fenced in Russia because Mobistar had all of the serial numbers blacklisted them from the carrier's network in Belgium.

The stolen iPhones, known as “Europeans,” are being offered in batches of 100 at knockdown prices. There are no installment plans or credit deals — cash only.

From iPhones.ru (translation)

Today, several vendors with a forum reported that they call the unknown people and offer at knockdown prices to buy officially unlocked “Europeans”. The minimum party is from 100 units in one-time payment without there installments or implementations.  The owner of a shop at Gorbushka, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the windows of the market has already started to appear Belgian phones.

The iPhone isn't officially available in Russia, making it a perfect market to re-sell the stolen iPhones. Interpol is investigating the case and has the list of the stolen iPhone's serial numbers and could easily confiscate any matching iPhones. Carriers could also block the stolen iPhone's International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) numbers directly at the switch in the central office, although there have been no reports of this happening yet.

Couldn't Apple just use its "Find My iPhone" feature to track down the missing hardware?

Photo: Art of the iPhone

Editorial standards