Entrepreneurs in Action

Friday, August 11, 2006
Clever Palis in Michigan.
One man was driving while the other two were in the back opening the phone packages with box cutters throwing the phones in one box, batteries in another and the packaging and phone charger in another container. The suspects had 1000 other cell phones in the van. There was also a bag of receipts showing that someone was in Wisconsin the day before....

The men have been "cooperative, upfront, not hiding" anything according to police. They also told officers they get stopped frequently and say they buy the phones for $20 and sell them elsewhere for $38. They sell them without the packaging or charger.

1,000 detonators. Please read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Terrorism charges filed.


Luther McLeod said...

Very strange Rick. I suppose it is now second nature to think the worst. Though how could I think otherwise?

"An alert clerk grew suspicious"

An example for all of us to adopt. I do not like it. But it is time.

Rick Ballard said...

Where is the 1,000 person customer base dumb enough to pay double for something that is found in a box store? I could listen to the story if it were a hundred but a thousand doesn't cut it.

Luther McLeod said...

I disagree Rick, a good salesman can work wonders. There are many who think a deal in the back of a van must be better than anything in a store. I mean, otherwise, why would it be in the back of a van :-)

truepeers said...

i have often seen stuff from big box stores being resold in corner stores. But stripping the phones of the chargers and packaging makes no commercial sense, as best I can figure, unless they're for export perhaps... but would they work abroad?

JB said...

Tracfones only work within the United States as far I know.

You can make long distance calls on them. The scary thing is, they can be activated in this manner from across the country.

JB said...

"Activated" meaning as detonators as described in the article.

JB said...


The only possible reseller-added-value would be the following:

They take the SIM card out of the package, install it in the cellphone, activate the phone (online or by phone), and sell it with minutes already on it.

I could see some clever guy doing that and making a few bucks. However, it sounds farfetched that they would sell the phone "without packaging" (phone manual.) Anyone savvy enough with cellphones not to need one would likely know enough to go to Target, buy a phone and activate it himself. And, certainly, why would someone pay $38 and not get the charger?

However, if you know already how to activate the phone, and you don't need the other 999 chargers, you would certainly want to separate them.

Based on my recent experience with a Tracfone purchase, I would say the BS factor is mighty high here.

Peter UK said...

To much is being read into this,the phone are being sold to ordinary entrepreneurs,dealers who have a need for a one time communications facility.Nothing to see here,normal trading practices.

Fresh Air said...

Weren't there a few flight manifests in the car, too?

Perhaps they were going to sell them to travellers at airports?

Pastorius said...

I don't think these are being used as detonators. They are being used for illegal communications that can not be tracked by the government.

Here's a link from the first guy to figure this out:


Peter UK said...

OT,but interesting would you say this letter was a threat?

vnjagvet said...

"The only illusory connection advanced by the prosecution to date is based on race and national origin," Abulhassan's family said in a statement. "This appears to be a typical case of racial profiling and we are confident Osama and Ali will be exonerated."

My response to the family is:

Race has nothing to do with 1000 cellphones. It appears these poor lads had an exquisite sense of bad timing. We are going to be safe, not sorry. Probable cause exists for the charges and they should tell it to the judge and jury.

Peter UK said...

Yes,it is quite natural to have $20,000 worth of cellphones in the back of the car,perfectly reasonable to buy them from a retailer and sell them at a profit without the instructions and the chargers.
Easier to give them away with each deal.