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Lost phone, easy money: Woman's opportunistic theft from lost phone ends in police custody

By Quan Zhanfu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-12-05 19:56

A woman in Sichuan province has been detained by police for stealing money from a lost phone. The woman, surnamed Wang, is suspected of theft after she found a lost phone and emptied the WeChat wallet, which contained over 5,100 yuan ($710).

The case unfolded on Nov 25 when a resident surnamed He reported to police in Longmatan, a district in Luzhou city, that he had lost his phone after getting off a bus. He tried calling his phone but received no answer. Upon logging into his WeChat account from a new phone, he discovered that all the money in his WeChat wallet, totaling over 5,100 yuan, was gone.

Police immediately launched an investigation and traced eight transactions made at a clothing store. Through interviews and evidence gathering, they identified two suspicious women involved in the case.

On Nov 27, police apprehended Wang, a 60-year-old woman. During questioning, Wang admitted that she had found the phone and noticed it was unlocked. Seeing the substantial amount of money in the WeChat wallet, she succumbed to temptation and emptied it.

Wang then deceived her daughter, claiming that her boyfriend had given them his phone to buy clothes. Believing her mother's story, the daughter accompanied Wang to a clothing store, where they purchased two jackets and two pairs of pants. To spend the money, Wang used the WeChat wallet's no-password payment feature, making eight separate transactions without entering a password. The no-password payment feature allows transactions below 1,000 yuan to be processed without a password.

After emptying the wallet, they turned off the phone.

Wang is currently in police custody on suspicion of theft. The case is still under investigation.

Police remind the public that taking a lost phone and accessing or spending money from it is illegal and can be charged as theft when the value reaches a certain amount.

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