Kamloops cops miss out on stolen cell phones after communication stumble | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops cops miss out on stolen cell phones after communication stumble

Two people wearing masks were caught on surveillance footage looting around 60 smart phones from a Kamloops store on Oct. 26, 2022.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Sheraz Hussin

A Kamloops business owner tracked a duffel bag of stolen cell phones to a local shelter after a smash and grab at his store.

Police responded to the store shortly after the Oct. 26 break-in around 2:30 a.m., but officers weren't able to get to the shelter in time to seize them.

“Later that day, some of the phones were mapping to a multi-residential address on the 700-block of Notre Dame Drive,” Cpl. Crystal Evelyn, Kamloops RCMP spokesperson said in a news release. “Unfortunately, the information was not relayed properly to frontline officers on duty, and the lead investigator did not get the message until they returned to work several days later.”

READ MORE: Kamloops phone repair shop tracks stolen goods to shelter apartment

Kamloops Phone Depot owner Sheraz Hussin said more than 60 phones were stolen in a matter of minutes. More than 20 of those were customer phones waiting for repairs or pick up.

He managed to track several of those phones to the Merit Place shelter the next day, just blocks away from his business.

"I contacted RCMP. She told me the girl looking after this is off-duty," Hussin said. "I told them to give it to any other officer so we can make it fast."

There's no indication police sent an officer to the shelter. Hussin is frustrated as the combined cost of the thefts and the damage amounted to $30,000, but the phones could have been seized with a quick response.

Police are now warning the public to be skeptical when buying used phones as they continue to investigate the robbery.

“As police work to continue efforts to locate the phones, the public is asked to please be cognizant of where and who they purchase used phones from, in the chance they could be stolen,” Evelyn said.

Anyone buying a used phone can check the phone's serial number for a record of its theft before making the purchase. Records are kept on the Canadian Police Information Centre here.

Potential buyers can also check with their celluar service provider and to double-check whether it's been reported stolen.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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