POSTED Thursday, May 9, 2013 -- 10:30 p.m.
Reporter: Phil Levin
Police are searching for a man stealing iPhones from women in the back of Madison Metro buses.
The suspect has struck at least three times on the last month. Investigators say he grabs the devices as the rear doors open.
Lots of local stores buy back phones, but say it is easy to see if they are stolen. Various permanent identification numbers are blacklisted when phones are reported missing and blocked from further activation.
On iPhones, a red "iPhone is disabled" banner appears when they are reported stolen, but brazen thieves are still trying to cash in.
"I saw that red flag on there, we actually held the phone, called the police, and turned it in," said Noah Emerson, owner of U Wireless on Madison's west side. "We get customers coming in here who have bought their phone on Craigslist from somebody and then they come in here to try to activate that phone and it turns out to be a blacklisted phone."