Friday, August 11, 2006

Thou Shalt Not Buy Too Many Cellphones

Via WNEM TV in Michigan, we discover that three Palestinian-American men have been arrested after an "alert" Wal-Mart clerk picked up on the fact that they had been through the checkout 80 times to purchase numerous cellphones in order to circumvent Wal-Mart's policy which limits customers to buying only three at a time.

One man was driving while the other two were in the back opening the phone packages with box cutters throwing the phones in one box, batteries in another and the packaging and phone charger in another container. The suspects had 1000 other cell phones in the van. There was also a bag of receipts showing that someone was in Wisconsin the day before.
Tim Nausler with the Michigan State Police bomb squad says this has all the tell tale signs of using cell phones to detonate bombs. He says you need two phones to detonate a bomb one to be with the explosive and the other to make the call to that phone. In some instances he says you can detonate with one phone using the alarm clock function.

Which obviously begs the question: why did they have 1000 when they only needed one or two?

In a related incident in Ithaca, the local police concluded no crime was committed when two customers of suspected 'Middle Eastern' descent tried to purchase multiple cellphones from a dollar store there.

So, why were the first indivuals arrested on terrorism charges when the last two weren't? And why were the first bunch being labeled as bomb detonators while the second bunch weren't? Who really knows what these phones were going to be used for? Maybe these guys were just going to resell the phones at a higher price somewhere else. And what will the charges be? Over-shopping?

This certainly isn't the first time that Wal-Mart employees have grown suspicious of multiple cellphone purchases. Back in January, suspects who bought several phones were immediately tied to a terrorist "sleeper-cell". Turns out the police were a bit too quick to make that assumption though since it later was proven false.

So, here's the deal: if you want to buy lots of cellphones, go through a wholesaler or some 'alert' Wal-Mart clerk might just call Homeland Security and get your butt arrested for...over-shopping or something.

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