Originally created 12/21/06

Thieves take devices from T-Mobile store



Police say they want your help to find who took $45,000 worth of cell phones from a west Augusta retailer.

According to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, deputies were called at about 4 a.m. to the T-Mobile store in the 200 block of Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway after a burglar alarm went off.

Police found the front door and plate glass window broken when they arrived.

More than 200 phones and wireless devices, including Sidekick and Blackberry devices used for e-mail and messaging, were taken. Popular phones such as the Motorola Razr were among those taken, as was a Compaq Evo laptop computer.

The total value of the phones and the laptop was listed at $45,829.

Investigator Robin Ashmore said many of the handsets sold by T-Mobile use Subscriber Identity Module, or SIM, card technology, which allows users to swap the cards from handset to handset without having to completely reprogram the phone.

By simply swapping a SIM card from one phone to another, the user easily can swap his phone number from one device to another.

The technology also allows people to purchase prepaid SIM cards and change phone numbers.

SIM cards are used primarily in Europe, and T-Mobile is a subsidiary of the German national telephone company. Many American wireless companies, such as Verizon Wireless and Alltel, do not use SIM cards, but the use of the cards is spreading to other companies, such as Cingular and Nextel.

Anyone with information about the burglary and thefts is asked to call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office at (706) 821-1020 or (706) 821-1080.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.