[funsec] 3 Arrested on Terrorism Charges in Mich. for buying prepaid cellphones

Drsolly drsollyp at drsolly.com
Sat Aug 12 09:03:33 CDT 2006


> The men, all from the Dallas area, were being held on charges of soliciting
> or providing material support for terrorism and obtaining information of a
> vulnerable target for the purposes of terrorism, police Sgt. Dale Stevenson
> said. They told investigators they planned to resell the phones to a
> wholesaler for profit, police said. 

That sounds right to me.
   
> Stevenson declined to elaborate on how the case relates to terrorism.
> Telephone messages were left Friday with the Tuscola County prosecutor's
> office and the FBI, which assisted with the investigation. 
> 
> The men, ages 18, 22 and 23, were being held in Tuscola County Jail and
> scheduled to be arraigned Saturday. 
> 
> Stevenson said the men went to a 24-hour Wal-Mart store in Caro early Friday
> and bought the cell phones despite a store policy limiting customers to
> three phones per purchase. A Wal-Mart clerk who thought the purchases were
> suspicious alerted police.

If they're limiting customers to three phones per purchase, that implies 
that they aren't making money on each purchase. I can go into my local 
Tesco and buy as many socks as they have in the store, with no limit, 
assuming I can pay. Why? Because they make a profit on each sock.

When you're losing money on each purchase, that's when you limit 
purchases.

So, some bright guy with an eye for making money, bought as many of these 
bargain phones as he could. It's not breaking the law to buy a thousand 
mobile phones, and if the shop has a rule about it, then that's a problem 
for the shop - it's up to them to enforce their rule, not the police.
 
> "They target these stores late, in the morning, hoping to get an
> inexperienced clerk," Stevenson said. 

Makes sense to me.
 
> Police stopped the men's van about 1:30 a.m. and found nearly 1,000 phones,
> most of which were prepaid TracFones, along with a laptop computer and a bag
> of receipts, Stevenson said. 

Surprise surprise. They still had the phones, had the receipts proving 
that they had been paid for, and <gasp> a laptop.
 
> "The cell phones can be used as detonators. Batteries can be disassembled
> and used to make methamphetamine.

And the battery chargers can be used to charge batteries which could be 
assembled into a time delay device that could be part of a bomb. And you 
could batter someone to death with the laptop.

> Obviously there's something wrong here,"
> Caro Police Chief Ben Page said. 
 
Cotton socks can be used to make guncotton, nylon socks can be used to 
make garottes.

What is wrong here, is that a bunch of people who found a neat way to make 
a profit out of Walmart's loss leader, are being harassed by the police.



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