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Wireless providers to disable stolen phones

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Wireless carriers will be able to quickly disable a cellphone after it’s reported stolen, under a plan announced Tuesday by federal and local officials.

The anti-crime strategy relies on a database that will allow wireless providers to disable a cellphone after a user reports it stolen.

The plan was unveiled by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, Sen. Charles Schumer and police chiefs from New York, Philadelphia and the District of Columbia.

The announcement comes as police in major cities grapple with increases in the theft of mobile phones, which are quickly resold in fencing operations.

Officials hope the database of uniquely identifiable mobile phone numbers will be up and running in six months. It’ll allow wireless carriers to block a stolen device from being used again.

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