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Bob Bain

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Mobile Phone(s) and wallet stolen [Nov. 15th, 2009|04:08 pm]
Bob Bain
[Current Mood |distresseddistressed]

As per my twitter stream on Thursday evening

wallet and 2 mobile/cellular phones stolen reported to police just before 5 - lost drivers licence, social security, medicare cards 6:33pm 11:33 PM Nov 11th from TweetDeck

The SIM cards in the phones were disabled and replacement SIM provided at a Vodafone outlet in Mt. Druitt early on Friday morning. My New South Wales driver's licence was also replaced (on the spot) at Mt. Druitt. The police called on Friday and I was asked if it was worthwhile doing a search for fingerprints early yesterday morning.

I decided it wouldn't be.

The thief got away with $70 in cash plus all the documents in my wallet plus two mobile phones including the one used to take photographs shown in this blog/lj

This is mentally grueling.

[User Picture]From: acelightning
2009-11-15 08:52 am (UTC)
Were you held up, or did the alleged perpetrator just lift the stuff out of your pocket or bag? I'm glad you weren't hurt, anyway.

Near the end of my second stay in Melbourne, my wallet was stolen out of my purse, in or near the Melbourne Centre shopping mall. It contained my driver's license, Social Security card, credit card, library card, various other cards, and a fair bit of cash. Fortunately, my passport and the remainder of my traveler's cheques were stored elsewhere. I was able to get my credit card blocked and replaced almost immediately, but everything else had to wait until I got back to the US. And the assistant manager of the little hotel where I was staying offered to front me some cash until my new credit card arrived; it wasn't necessary (I was able to cash the rest of my traveler's cheques), but it was a thoughtful thing for her to offer.

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[User Picture]From: bobbain
2009-11-15 09:05 am (UTC)

A guy knocked at the door and wanted to know if I knew of the date of the next strata title meeting. I told him I didn't and went upstairs to continue my nap. Unfortunately the door was unlocked and it seems he made a sweeping visit taking those things that were quick and easy to grab such as my wallet and the two mobile phones. He seemingly exited via the back door and left the back gate open.

As it appears to have been a hurried escapade I doubt if he left any fingerprints. I was told that anything outdoors or anything fabric wouldn't be useful for fingerprint identification.

Yes I remember your accounts of your second trip to Melbourne.

Fortunately the thief didn't get any credit cards so I don't have to worry about that.

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[User Picture]From: acelightning
2009-11-16 10:46 am (UTC)
Oh dear. It's really horrid when your home is invaded like that. But it sounds as if you were able to minimize the amount of harm done, except for the cash. And I'm sure you gave the police a good description of the man.


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[User Picture]From: bobbain
2009-11-17 09:47 pm (UTC)

I don't know they took any interest in a description of the thief which was pretty rough and could fit almost anyone. I didn't get a close look at his face.

The wallet (minus $70) was in my mail box yesterday morning at 11.30 so I have the (now replaced) driver's licence and social security cards back.

The mobile/cellular phones remain listed as "stolen". I gave the police the IMEI numbers

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Mobile_Equipment_Identity )

which are used to uniquely identify mobile phones.
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[User Picture]From: acelightning
2009-11-18 02:45 pm (UTC)
So the thief returned your wallet, missing only the cash, by coming back and putting it in your mailbox? Pity the cops weren't there to nab him...

US cell phones have MEID numbers - I actually turned off my phone, took out the battery, and perused the tiny print on the stickers inside the battery compartment. MEID numbers can be used the same way, to block service if a phone is reported stolen. (Our mobile phone systems are way behind the rest of the civilized world; for that matter, so is our broadband access.)

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[User Picture]From: bobbain
2009-11-18 08:39 pm (UTC)

It's more likely that the thief removed the cash and threw the wallet away and some thoughtful person reading the address on the driver's licence returned the wallet to my mailbox.

I don't think that service to/from the phone was blocked by Vodafone as they didn't ask for anything other than the mobile number which they barred from sending or receiving calls. The mobile number is attached to a SIM which is inserted into the phone. When I got a replacement SIM the number was moved from the stolen SIM (in the phone) to the new SIM (which I have) and the SIM card in the stolen phone would be inactive from that moment. I now have the SIM card in an older phone and it's working. I called my painter friend in Katoomba yesterday as his number was on the old SIM and I wanted to test if I had the right number in my diary (I did).

He was up Watson's Bay (something to do with art).

I thought Australia's broadband access was behind the rest of the civilised world. FYI Paul Budde is a strong advocate of Australia's proposed NBN (National Broadband Network) and is known to be speaking to the Obama adminstration about similar efforts in the United States.

See previous entries to this journal and elsewhere for information.

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[User Picture]From: bobbain
2009-11-18 09:06 pm (UTC)

I don't think there's much difference between an MEID and an IMEI. One Wikipedia article suggest that MEID is for CDMA phones. Australia no longer uses CDMA and most cellular phones in the cities are GSM and or WCDMA (3G?) or in the case of Telstra NextG (replaced CDMA in the bush).

According to this article in Wikipedia


"The main difference between MEID and IMEI is that the MEID allows hexadecimal digits while IMEI allows only decimal digits"

It could well be that you can simply dial *#06# from the handset to view the MEID. It's possible from an IMEI enabled device so I don't see why it shouldn't work on an MEID device.

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[User Picture]From: acelightning
2009-11-19 09:01 pm (UTC)
Dialing #06# on my phone did absolutely nothing.

Most of the wireless telephone carriers in the US are still CDMA, although a few can support GSM as well. Very few phones sold to the US market can be used in any other country (except Canada, and perhaps Mexico). The fancy cell phones people spend large amounts of money on here would make a Japanese schoolchild giggle at their lack of sophistication.

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[User Picture]From: bobbain
2009-11-23 10:25 pm (UTC)
From what I can see from an article on GSM (Wikipedia) GSM coverage is available throughout most of the United States.


Interestingly there's a map of GSM coverage and the US is well represented


I now have a replacement GSM UMTS W-CDMA phone ordered from Queensland but delivered in one day from Hong Kong. It's not locked to any particular carrier and entered the country legally.

Although it has UMTS features (3G) I've set the phone to GSM only as 3G seems to drain the battery given all the things UTMS support. It's only a flick of a switch to turn 3G back on if I need it - so nothing is being lost.

Wikipedia also have a page illustrating the advantages/disadvantes of the various mobile/cellular phone standards


The major mobile standards listed are GSM UMTS(3GSM) and CDMA (used in the United States ). CDMA doesn't use a SIM card.

I believe the system whereby you enter a phone command using *# (there are many of them - most undocumented ) such as *#06# mentioned earlier is unique to GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications).

I guess if you actually wished to purchase a GSM phone there would be someone somewhere ready and willing to export one to the United States. Not living in the US I can only speculate where you'd be able to purchase a suitable SIM card.

As for the IMEI number I find this is a number printed on the box the phone comes in. If your phone came in a box perhaps you could find the equivilent printed on the box as well :-) Sure beats poking around inside and looking for obscure stickers underneath the battery :-)

BTW: Someone (anonymous) has added a comment to my July entry regarding Theo Bee's (LTUAE) passing.

I tweeted/twittered reference to it yesterday


Comment to LJ entry (Jul 29 2009) "Science is nothing but perception" http://tinyurl.com/y8fysg7 added to http://tinyurl.com/yh23bjn 8:51 am

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[User Picture]From: acelightning
2009-11-24 07:00 pm (UTC)
I have never seen a SIM card, nor a phone which uses one. High-end phone units are often capable of operating on both CDMA and GSM networks (making them "global phones"), but GSM costs quite a bit more to use - and the phones still don't have SIM cards. If you want to switch networks, you have to buy a new phone from your new provider. (And until a few years ago, if you did that, you wound up with a different phone number; at least now you're allowed to keep your phone number when you change services.)

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[User Picture]From: bobbain
2009-11-24 11:02 pm (UTC)

For people interested in visiting the United States with a conventional "SIM card GSM cellular phone" there are prepaid SIM cards available. A google search on "Prepaid SIM cards usa" shows a number of vendors willing to sell a SIM card for use in the United States.

Here's one result


Most GSM phones for use internationally (such as the one I just imported from Hong Kong) are "quad band" meaning they cover every possible frequency including North and South America. Nearly all cellular phones on sale in Australia are also "quad band" these days.

Here's a "cheapie" $60 for use in the United States only..


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