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Florissant cell phone store owner frustrated with break-ins; contemplates closing

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FLORISSANT, MO (KTVI) - Just two days after an armed robber stole a cell phone and laptop from the wife of Missouri's governor-elect police are trying to track a thief in Florissant who stole a large number of iPhones from a retail shop. It is the third time in two years that criminals have broken into The Cellphone Genius store in the 1700 block of North New Florissant. The store is just a few blocks from the Florissant City Police Department. However, the owner is thinking of closing his store after his recent losses.

Sam Adil said he lost some $8,000 worth of equipment in the overnight break in. Two computers, Apple watches, an iPad mini and some LG phones were taken. Some of the property belonged to customers who had their items in the shop for repairs. Adil said he is replacing those stolen items belonging to customers with new versions of their electronic devices.

Assistant store manager Dave Arras predicted the thieves would have trouble selling the iPhones for anything close to their retail value.  "If the item is already pass locked on the screen and you cannot get beyond that, then it is worthless, and "Arras said.

He believes the thieves will try to sell the hot phones to repair shops who would break them down for parts which cannot be identified. However, in order to activate new cell, service the serial number of the phone must be provided. If owners whose phones are lost or stolen report those numbers to their service carriers, then they will be placed on a list of stolen property. Shops like the one in Florissant check those lists before purchasing second hand phones.

Adil and Arras suggest a regional registry of stolen phones and electronic gear be established by law. Stores would be required to check the list before they purchased any used items. Similar laws have been created in an effort to stop thieves from profiting by the sale of scrap copper stolen from air conditioning systems and home gutters.