LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - "Apple picking" is a common term for a crime in which thieves steal cell phones to make money. Now, cell phone companies are fighting back.
If you've ever misplaced or had your cell phone stolen you know the frustration that follows. Now, a new database will make stealing mobile phones harder and worthless to criminals.
Sgt. Brian Dedrick with the North Little Rock Police Department says this system is long overdue.
"It's a good idea. Anytime you put things in place to detour someone from activating a cell phone, I think it's a good idea," he said.
The system will allow multiple carriers to share serial numbers with one another, instead of the current method of providers having individual databases. This will prevent stolen phones from being activated on other carrier networks. Sgt. Dedrick says the database is needed in this digital age.
"It will make a difference in the long run. If they realize they can't activate it anywhere, then yeah, it will definitely make a difference," he said.
Cell phone companies hope this will help curb the epidemic and raise public awareness. It could put an end to crimes similar to what happened more than a year ago at the Apple Store located in the Promenade shopping center in Chenal.
Lt. Terry Hastings with the Little Rock Police Department explains the break-in.
"It appeared they smashed, went in and got what they needed and left. It appears they knew what they were doing and what they were looking for," he said, "This is probably how they make their living, stealing cell phones."
Currently, AT&T and T-Mobile have activated their databases. All four major carriers will eventually have the FCC regulated service in place.