Every time an Apple device is stolen, detectives attempt to get tracking numbers from the victim or online records… That number, known as the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity, is then shared with the officers in Police Headquarters who pass it on to Apple…The California-based company then informs the NYPD of the device’s current location — and it can track it even if it was reregistered with a different wireless provider.
The report also detailed accounts of police recovering devices—including an iPad tracked to the Dominican Republic and another involving a stakeout at a bus stop:
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In another case, it busted a man suspected of selling stolen iPads at a city bus stop by tracking them with Apple’s help. “We staked out the bus stop, ID’d the suspect and arrested him. We recovered the iPad,” said Browne, who noted 74 percent of all stolen Apple devices resurface within the five boroughs.
In December, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed to the increase in thefts of iPhones and iPads as the cause of the increase in the city’s annual crime index. That followed reports from the NYPD in September 2012 that claimed Apple-related crimes are increasing 10 times faster than the general crime rate.