Crime and Punishment

New York Lawmakers Want to Make It Illegal to Resell a Smartphone Sans Orginial Receipt

Glad we solved that problem!
Our heroes. (Photo: New York Senate)

Our heroes. (Photo: New York Senate)

Tis the season for apple picking, just not the type that involves iPhones. A pair of Bronx politicians are proposing a law that aims to cut down smartphone theft by making it illegal to resell a device without a valid proof of ownership. If you try to sell the device without proof you’re the owner, you could face penalties and possibly jail time.

The New York Daily News reports that State Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, both Democrats, crafted the plan to crack down on thieves targeted iPhones, a.k.a. “Apple picking.” The legislation states that in order to sell a used smartphone, the purveyor must have a receipt.

The law isn’t aimed at individuals, so you can still sell your phone to a friend, but toward small retailers such as flea markets and bodegas. Mr. Klein said he’s targeting those places because that’s where the origins of smartphones are harder to trace and thus are lucrative spots for the thieves.

Per the statement released by the legislators, the law’s goal to stomp out black market retailers:

If you’re a retailer making a few extra bucks by selling stolen phones, you’re now going to think twice before you open up your wallet and pay one of these criminals. I have had someone killed in my district over an iPhone,” said Sen. Klein. “That is as bad as it gets. But it’s an epidemic across this city and we can’t wait any longer to take meaningful action.”

While certainly ambitious, good luck cracking down on resellers in the deep end of the Internet, like Craigslist.

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com