When criminals turn technology against the police

Here’s an interesting twist on criminals and cellphones.

Police believe Juelle L. Grant, 24, of Willow Avenue, may have been the driver of a vehicle involved in an Oct. 23 drive-by shooting on Van Vranken Avenue, near Lang Street, so they obtained her phone, according to police allegations filed in court. No one was injured in the shooting.

After police took her iPhone X, telling her it was considered evidence, “she did remotely wipe” the device, according to police.

“The defendant was aware of the intentions of the police department at the conclusion of the interview with her,” according to court documents.

Police arrested Grant on Nov. 2 and charged her with three felonies — two counts of tampering with physical evidence and one count of hindering prosecution.

There’s more at the link.

She may have wiped the cellphone – something anyone with an iPhone can do if the device is stolen, to prevent it being used or its information from being “harvested” – but I bet her movements can still be tracked on the date in question by referring to triangulation data from cellphone towers.  Even so, I’m sure valuable evidence was lost.  After all, why else would she have wiped it?

I suppose police will now have to ensure that patrol officers carry Faraday bags with them, to secure confiscated cellphones and other electronic devices that might be wiped by criminals.  That’s going to add another layer of complexity to their job.



  1. We've been using Faraday bags for a couple years now. Standard procedure for any phone seized as evidence is to turn it off and immediately place it in the Faraday bag. We have some in every police car as well as in our property room.

  2. Sounds like they said phone was evidence, not the contents. If they didn't want the contents tampered with they should have said so.

  3. Why not for your next drive by shooting, give your cell phone to friend and send him to the game somewhere else in town.? Naaa coppers, you cant prove I was at scene of the crime and the cellular evidence concurs.

  4. All that they really have to have with them is a nice-sized sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, y'know – just turn the phone off, and then wrap it carefully in the foil sheet, making sure to double-wrap and snugly folding over all openings, then maybe taping down the folded ends. That's as good as, or even possibly better than, any Faraday envelope/bag, easily-transported – folded-up and carried in a back pocket – and a whole lot cheaper…

    It then becomes pretty easy to take the phone to an actual Faraday-cage protected location at the cop shop, and then proceed with the desired data-search.

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