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Public Statements

Udall Fights for Steep Penalties for Cell Phone Thieves


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Building on his successful effort to encourage the Federal Communications Commission and cell phone carriers to work together and build a database of stolen smart phones to prevent them from being reactivated, Sen. Mark Udall continues to lead the fight to help pass the Mobile Device Theft Deterrence Act. The recently introduced bill, a version of legislation Udall previously cosponsored, would create up to a five-year prison sentence for tampering with a cell phone's unique identification number, similar to how the vehicle identification number (VIN) system deters car theft. This common-sense legislation will help deter thieves from committing cell phone theft, an often violent crime.

"Mobile carriers and the Federal Communications Commission already partnered together and took strong steps to discourage violent cell phone theft by creating a "do not activate' database for stolen phones. But without a federal criminal penalty for altering a phone's unique ID these efforts at combating property crimes have no teeth," Udall said. "My legislation ensures that if thieves try to get around the no-reactivation rule by altering a phone's unique ID, they will face time in prison. Smart deterrence prevents stolen cell phones from becoming black market gold."

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