Friday, July 29, 2011

Lazy Victoria police couldn't be bothered to catch a crook

They were handed the evidence on a plate but only a complaint to a police regulator got them off their fat backsides. I had a very similar experience with the Queensland police -- JR

Emily Kitson thought her iPhone 4 was gone forever when it was stolen from beneath a cash register while she was at work. Her partner, Josh, was beginning to think so too after dealing with what he said was an unhelpful police officer.

On Saturday May 21 this year, Ms Kitson, 19, had been working at a lolly store at Broadmeadows Shopping Centre in Victoria. "It was just like a normal Saturday and I had my phone underneath the till where everyone else leaves their phone," Ms Kitson said.

During the day she served a man she described as being in his 30s or 40s who "distracted both of the staff and paid for his lollies and left". Immediately after serving him, though, another man came up to Ms Kitson, she said, and told her that he saw the man she just served steal her phone. "I checked and ... it was gone, so I went and got the security guard and they sort of chased after him."

After waiting about an hour, Ms Kitson said she was told by security that the man who stole her phone had got away in a taxi but that they had imagery of him stealing it on CCTV footage.

Following the iPhone theft, Ms Kitson said she called her partner Josh, who remembered installing "Google Latitude" onto her phone, a location-aware app that lets authorised friends track where someone's phone is. The app uses GPS, wi-fi and mobile phone towers to determine a phone's location. Luckily for Ms Kitson, Josh was an authorised friend. "I completely forgot about it," she said.

After realising the app was installed, Ms Kitson said Josh told her he had tracked the phone "to a place about a kilometre from the shopping centre". The location was constantly updating.

With CCTV footage available for police to obtain from Broadmeadows Shopping Centre and the Google Latitude app pinpointing the phone to a suburban house, Emily and her partner believed they had some hope in retrieving it with the help of police.

But according to Ms Kitson, the police officer she and Josh spoke to at Broadmeadows Police Station was unhelpful to deal with. "I told them everything that I had, I gave them a description, I said that we had tracked [the thief] to an address and that it was still updating and that I had him on video doing it," Ms Kitson said.

But the police officer she spoke with "wasn't very nice", she said. "He didn't seem to be very interested in what we were saying. I don't know if it was because we were young. [But] he sort of gave me the impression that I was lying [and] he said that [he didn't] understand how something like [this could] happen."

Despite this, Ms Kitson said the officer wrote down the information she gave him on a notebook and said that he would send a report to her by Tuesday. "I was a bit disheartened considering how much we had," she said. "I figured [the information I gave them] would be enough for them to actually do something. I didn't think that I would get my phone back - but at the very least maybe the [thief] would get charged because I heard from people within the shopping centre that he was the common person there that stole a lot of stuff."

Josh "was pretty upset" about the officer's effort, Ms Kitson said. "So he sort of just started chasing it up and ringing up and seeing if it had been reported." In doing so, she said he "found out that the guy that I had spoken to at the police station had gone on ... leave and hadn't even reported the incident". Comment is being sought from police on this claim.

"... It wasn't even reported yet, which was the very least that we would expect," Ms Kitson claimed, which led her partner to continue to call police, checking up the case. "He just kept talking to people and they just kept stuffing him about and saying 'You're just going to have to wait it out'," she said.

What made it worse for the pair was that the phone was not insured, which made retrieving it a top priority for them.

Ms Kitson understood there were "more important crimes out there" than a stolen iPhone but believed that with the information she had the case could be closed fairly quickly.

"All the time that this was happening ... the phone was updating the address. And that was horrible because I could see that [a] person had my phone but there was nothing that I could do about it. "I wasn't about to go to their address and say 'Give me back my phone'."

The phone had even made its way to a nearby Catholic girls' school, according to Josh. It later became evident as to why.

After dealing with police for a number of days, Ms Kitson's partner Josh took the case to the Victoria Police Conduct Unit. "The police were not helping us at all," Ms Kitson said.

After her partner communicated with the Conduct Unit a number of times, the officer who the couple first reported the incident to got back to Ms Kitson's partner to tell him that he had sent a squad car to the address where the Google Latitude tracking software had located the phone, only to find the address didn't exist, Ms Kitson said.

"So Josh went on Google Maps and printed out pictures of the house. He found a real estate listing of it to prove that it was a real house. I don't know what [the police] were looking at".

A trip was then made to the police station to explain how the Google Latitude software worked, she said, and officers were given several photos Josh had of locations where the phone had been tracked to. "We were taking screenshots of every time it updated," Ms Kitson said.

It's understood the location the phone was pinpointing was not the house with the stolen phone but one nearby, which led police to have to investigate further.

Ten days after the phone was stolen, Josh received a call he wasn't expecting. "One morning we had a call saying that [the police] had gone to [a] house at 12 o'clock at night and gotten my phone," Ms Kitson said. "Apparently it was a 14-year-old girl that had it."

According to Ms Kitson, the police informed that the girl had purchased the phone for about $80 from what they believed was the man that stole it at the lolly shop. The man had apparently taken the iPhone directly to the girl after he stole it, Ms Kitson said police told her.

She described how the girl had left a number of text messages on the phone that indicated the girl knew the phone had been stolen. An online instant messenger program - MSN - was also left signed in. "I was very shocked that I got my phone back; I wasn't expecting it at all."

Now Ms Kitson has the girl's phone number saved in her contacts under "Idiot Who Bought A Stolen iPhone". The number was made available to Ms Kitson as the girl had sent messages to her friends with the new number she presumably got from buying a new SIM card for the iPhone to work. "They left messages on there, texting everyone saying they got a new phone but 'I can't tell you where from'."

Ms Kitson said she read many of the messages on the phone, as it was her property, but "didn't do anything mean - though I probably could have". There were also a number of new purchased apps on the phone.

In a statement, Victoria Police said a phone was reported stolen on May 21 and recovered after the execution of a warrant at a Meadow Heights property on May 31. It said a 46 year-old female had been interviewed regarding the matter, "however no charges have been laid and the investigation is ongoing".



  1. they are all lazy. Road Rage "What do you want us to do about it" $10,000 Graffitti Damage "Well you probably shouldnt have chosen to live there" Cars stolen form a wrecking yard "well they were V8's your insurance can handle it" Criminal Damage "well you realise you will have to make a statement which will take a fair while, and then you will have to go to court and then he wil probably just get a warning" Lazy lazy lazy. and unfortunately typical today. if 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing', They are doing nothing exceptionally well.

  2. The Shepparton are the laziest. They will not attend a crime scene, or answer calls. Well known that certain officers have become OUTLAW informants. In the last 3 occasions in having gone to the Shepparton Police Station the service desk was not manned. Pathetic lot we have.

  3. I was assaulted at my work, reported it to the police and told them the nane of the customer who hit me. When the cops caught up with him he said that I hit him first. Despite me making the report the cops instantly put it into the 'too hard basket' and refused to arrest him.



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