Dear PoPville – Theft or Loss?

Dear PoPville,

WMATA Metro Police failed to take my police report stating that my alleged theft of my personal property was not “theft”; but “loss of personal property”.

Theft or Loss?

This morning at 7:15 at the Shaw Metro Stop I sat down on the bench for a two minute wait till the train arrived. I set my bag directly next to me, and my cell phone in-between myself and my bag. I bent over to re-tie both my shoes and when I sat up my phone was gone. While I am fully aware that this is not the best practice for safekeeping of an iPhone, I suppose my guard was down due to the hour of the day, my perceived sense of security of a station with attendants at both ends of the station as well as cameras.

When I called Metro Police I was told I had to give a report in person, and therefor went back to the station where I waited for 20 minutes for an officer to show up. An officer who after listening to me for 5 seconds blatantly interrupted me to tell me he was NOT going to write a report. That if I didn’t see someone take the phone, that it was lost property. To further substantiate the loss, I explained that I had tracked the phone after its theft to see its location services deactivated, and later to see the name on the iPhone change from mine, to a generic AT&T iPhone, confirming that whoever stole this phone knew exactly what they were doing.

My fear is that while most of us living in the city know there is a rampant problem with thefts of iPhones and other mobile phone devices; that the officials responsible for controlling crime are in some ways covering up the problem by their unwillingness to file such crimes as actual crimes. Is metro attempting to skew crime statistics with this policy? If so, this is completely unacceptable! If the problem is not appropriately being addressed, and not being made visible in public crime statistics, then we are therefore condoning such behavior (a behavior that I would in no other way characterize than as theft).

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