Apple Buyers Make iPhone 5 Trackable With Police Help

By Chris Dolmetsch

The New York City Police Department stationed officers at Apple Inc. (AAPL) stores as the iPhone 5 went on sale to help buyers register their new devices so they can be traced if stolen.

The NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau today deployed officers at the company’s six New York City stores, as well as seven Verizon Wireless and eight AT&T Inc. (T) locations, where they will register serial numbers of new devices along with the owner’s name and contact information, according to a statement.

Earlier this year, the NYPD deployed patrol officers with technology that allows them to locate stolen iPhones and other stolen Apple products and apprehend those responsible, and officers have used the technology on their personal phones to recover property and make arrests.

“I’m glad they’re there,” said Jessica Mellow, 27, a model and artist who was one of the first 10 people in line this morning at the Apple Store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. “I’ve had three phones stolen.”

Paul Browne, an NYPD spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to inquiries about how many devices officers have registered today.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, is poised for a record iPhone 5 debut and may not be able to keep up with demand as customers lined up in Sydney, Tokyo, Paris and New York to pick up the latest model of its top-selling product.

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