[funsec] Buying too many prepaid cellphones is now a crime?

Richard M. Smith rms at bsf-llc.com
Fri Aug 11 12:34:24 CDT 2006

Three Middle Eastern Men Found With 1000 Cell Phones
Aug 11, 2006 11:59 AM 

(TV5) -- Around 1:00am August 11th three men purchased cell phones from the
Wal-Mart store on M-81 near the corner of M-24 in Caro. Wal-Mart places a
limit on the number of cell phones that can be purchased at once, that
number is three. The three men allegedly bought 80 by purchasing them three
at time so that an alert wouldn't be triggered by the cash register. They
also paid cash.

An alert clerk grew suspicious and called Tuscola County central dispatch.
The Caro Police Department sent a unit and stopped the rented van on M-81
just east of Caro. The suspects were headed towards Bad Axe on M-81 where
there is another Super Wal-Mart.

The three men were described as being of Pakistani descent but live in
Texas.   Police say the three, ages 19, 22, and 23 appear to be naturalized
citizens. One man was driving while the other two were in the back opening
the phone packages with box cutters throwing the phones in one box,
batteries in another and the packaging and phone charger in another
container. The suspects had 1000 other cell phones in the van. There was
also a bag of receipts showing that someone was in Wisconsin the day before.

The phones were Nokia Tracfones selling for $20 at Wal-Mart. For your twenty
dollars you receive a phone charger and 40 minutes of airtime. The phones do
not have to be registered with a name. Also discovered was a laptop with
store addresses and store logos.

The men have been "cooperative, upfront, not hiding" anything according to
police. They also told officers they get stopped frequently and  say they
buy the phones for $20 and sell them elsewhere for $38. They sell them
without the packaging or charger.

The Caro Police Department, the FBI  and the Homeland Security Terrorism
Taskforce are involved in the case.   

The Caro Police Department is holding the suspects property while awaiting
arrival of the FBI. FBI wants to talk to the three men who are not in

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