Kamenetz to introduce legislation designed to stem cell phone thefts

TOWSON, Md. - People who live in Baltimore County may soon be able to feel a little safer if new legislation targeting cell phone thefts is passed, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said.

The first bill bans automated cell phone purchasing machines in the county. Police have seen a spike in phones being stolen to get money from the machines. Councilman Tom Quirk says this has been a big issue brought up by several communities.

The second bill would make it illegal for dealers to accept cash for cell phone purchases. Those businesses will have to get a license for an undetermined fee. Dealers would also be required to report daily sales to the county.

 Also, any stolen items they get would have to be turned into police.

"This past summer, [Baltimore County police] Chief Jim Johnson brought two important issues to my attention:  the use of automated purchasing machines to dispose of cell phones and the unregulated purchase of cell phones and other portable electronics by dealers, making it easy for criminals to sell recently stolen items," said Kamenetz in a statement.  "Since that time, I have been working closely with the Chief and the County Council to deter these crimes.  The legislation we propose will do just that."

The County Council will hold a work session on the legislation on Feb. 25, with a final vote scheduled on March 3.

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