Stolen smartphones and GPS locators could cause problems for pol - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Stolen smartphones and GPS locators could cause problems for police

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Used cell phones will help survivors of domestic violence. Used cell phones will help survivors of domestic violence.

NBC RIGHT NOW- Have you ever lost your smartphone or maybe had it stolen? If so, maybe you're familiar with apps that help you locate where your smartphone is. Well, we talked with a writer, editor and former police officer, Tim Dees who tells us these apps could be more problematic than we think. 

With the app, people are more likely to go door knocking in the area of where it says their phone is. With door knocking, they are putting themselves in a dangerous situation. Dees says it's best to contact police and let them know. However, a lot of police departments do not have policies and procedures when it comes to handing stolen smartphones and using these GPS trackers. He says, "an overriding issue is the phone is going to be worth probably 400-600 dollars which in most states is below the felony threshold so if you steal something less than 1000 dollars you'll be prosecuted as misdemeanor not felony. You don't normally go through the trouble of getting a search warrant for misdemeanors". 

We talked with local departments and they told us they do look into the cases and while they're not highest priority calls, they will still get a search warrant in order to return property to the rightful owners. 

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