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Good Samaritan ensures teen's stolen iPhone makes its way home

What would you do if you found out the iPhone5 you bought on Craigslist for $300 was actually stolen property?

For a 17-year-old Surrey university student, the answer was obvious:  drive the phone back into Richmond, and hand it to the school principal of the teen who was victimized.

Richmond RCMP Cpl. Stephanie Ashton said this scenario played out last fall, and credits the Surrey Good Samaritan and a website for the happy ending.

In late November, a local youth's iPhone went missing during gym class. He figured he'd never get it back.

While he reported the phone missing to the school, he didn't think it was right to involve the police.

But the teen did contact his cell phone provider, which placed the smartphone on a blacklist, a database that prevents lost or stolen devices from being used on participating Canadian cellular networks.

The Surrey teen who ended up buying the phone on Craigslist, discovered the phone didn't work after making the deal.

He contacted his cell phone provider, who indicated that the phone had been blacklisted.

Ashton said police then learned that the Surrey teen drove into Richmond and delivered the phone to the principal of the school that the Richmond teen attends.

"Thanks to the conscientiousness and kindness of the Surrey university student, who has asked not to be identified, we were able to return the phone to its rightful owner," said Richmond RCMP Const. Greg Reimer. "But better yet, we were also able to identify a suspect in the theft of the phone. We are now taking steps to hold that person accountable for their actions.

Ashton advised that owners of cell phones can protect themselves by checking the National Stolen Device Blacklist (protectyourdata.ca) before buying a used cell phone.

"It's really a matter of buyer beware, when buying items from strangers over the internet," said Reimer.

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