Concerns raised over phone kiosk security

SAN DIEGO - Suzi Woodruff Lacey was shopping at a craft store when a woman reached in her bag when she wasn't looking and stole her iPhone.

"I'd be lost without my phone. It's such a part of my existence," said Woodruff Lacey.

She used an employee's phone and logged on to the Find My iPhone application. She eventually found it at an ecoATM machine inside the Westfield Parkway Mall in El Cajon and had a security guard get the phone out of the machine. The phone just been sold for $110.

El Cajon police worry it is that on the spot cash that is the problem. They told Team 10 they have recovered less than half a dozen stolen phones out of the machines over the last year.

"It's that access, in my my opinion, is too much of a lure for these types of thieves," said El Cajon police Lt. Jeff Arvan. "I think additional measures need to be implemented to remove the element, possibly providing a different avenue of payment."

The San Diego-based ecoATM tells Team 10 their machine is not the place to sell a stolen phone.

"Look, the person who put their phone in the ecoATM is going to have their picture taken, their ID scanned, their thumbprint and they are going to have identifying information about the phone," said Ryan Kuder of ecoATM. "We don't believe people are going to take those risks."

They said they work hand in hand with law enforcement.

"Our take is that by cooperating with police, if someone does have a stolen phone we'll be able to help the police go out and arrest that person," said Kuder.

10News' Scripps sister station in Indianapolis uncovered a flaw where a copy of a license was accepted in the machines. The company is updating the machines' software so now ID's have to be inserted.

"No matter what changes they make, they are still a magnet for thieves," said Woodruff Lacey.

For a list of ecoATM locations, click here.

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