Alerting Criminals via SMS: The Irony of it All
By Justin Ried, Tue Mar 27 00:00:00 GMT 2001

If you steal a mobile phone in Amsterdam, expect to get some nasty calls from, yep, you guessed it, the police.

In cooperation with local operators, police in Amsterdam have found a great way to tell mobile phone thieves to come clean – with a text message.

That’s right, a text message. Once John Q. Citizen calls the police (from a payphone, of course) and informs them that his mobile’s been confiscated by bandits, the police begin sending text messages, one every minute, to the device. The text reads: “This mobile phone was reported stolen. Selling or using is prohibited. You have 10 minutes to return it to the police.”

“More then 400 mobile phones are reported stolen every month and the amount is increasing," said head of police Jan van Riessen. "Apart from that, the police will also listen to the telephone calls made on stolen mobile phones. So it will be very easy to trace the robbers."

The police started negotiations with mobile phone companies to find a way to make phones inoperable after they were stolen but without success.

Dumb, da dumb, dumb...

In addition to the big house, Justin Ried thinks these guys belong in a book, appropriately titled World's Dumbest Criminals.