March 21, 2010

Cell phone monitors crime


    It’s almost time for spring break at “The World’s Most Famous Beach.” That’s what Daytona Beach calls itself. Since the Sixties college kids have flocked to the 11-mile strip of white sandy beach in the springtime.
  Most of the kids are law-abiding although some do get rowdy -- some even play fast and loose with the law. That faction usually ends up calling home for help with bail money.
  The trio of problem makers in this week’s story -- we’ll call them Larry, Moe and Curly Joe -- get into trouble attempting to steal property from a parked car, according to a story published in the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
  We’re at Daytona Beach Police Headquarters when a 911 call comes in. The operator listens to the call and passes the information along to the desk sergeant.
  Nobody is talking directly to the cops, but the phone talkers are discussing how to bust into a car. Once inside the car the callers begin talking about which items to take. There’s the Tom-Tom GPS, the entire panel of electronics, plus a checkbook and a handgun in the glove box.
  Meanwhile, a patrol car is dispatched to the beachside area where two cops spot three young people looting a BMW. One of the trio tries to run to a nearby car and get away but the cops nab him.
  Within minutes Larry, Moe and Curly Joe are on the sandy soil with their hands cuffed behind their backs. One of them -- must have been Curly Joe -- has a cell phone in his side pocket. The phone is still connected! One of the cops determines that the Daytona Beach 911 operator is on the other end of the line. Back at headquarters, cops figure that Curly Joe had, without ever touching the keys on the phone pad, “hip-dialed” 911.
  For those unfamiliar with "hip-dialing," any teen will tell you a speed number can be dialed accidentally on an open-faced cell phone simply by pressing the phone up against a hard object like the door post of a car.

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