Dateline Investigates iPod Thieves, Calls Them 'i-Jackers'


NBC’s Dateline decided to stop catching predators for a moment to catch “i-Jackers,” or iPod thieves. I saw most of the program last night, after host Chris Hansen promoted it on O&A, and was absolutely shocked to see who the thieves were… The premise of the investigation was simple: a Dateline producer’s son had his iPod stolen, so this epidemic must be exposed. Dateline bought a bunch of iPods, then left them lying around various parts of the country: on top of a car in New Jersey; on a park bench in California; under the giant ceiling TV thing in Las Vegas, etc. Unbeknownst to the thieves, when they connected the iPod to their computer, a special computer program secretly embedded on the install CD sent all of their registration to Dateline. Fantastic.

Under the guise of a music giveaway, Dateline confronted the iPod thieves. Most of them were punk kids, around 16 or 17, who stole the iPod just because the situation presented itself. One thief was so embarrassed by being found out that she returned the iPod right after her interview with Hansen.

I guess the point of the program was to show just how widespread iPod thievery is. It’s the “in” item right now, so kids are apt to steal it. Also, most of the time, Dateline learned, iPods aren’t stolen in robberies, but stolen with the owner completely unaware.

I’ve never had an iPod stolen, but a friend of mine did. I say it served him right, but now I’m a little curious: anyone here have their iPod unlawfully taken from them? I remember there was a “War of the Worlds” type scare in New York a few years back: “Never wear the white earbuds or they’ll steal your iPod and stab you in the eye.”

Thank goodness Dateline is going after those monsters.

Hot iPods: Is there a way to stop thieves cold? A Dateline hidden camera investigation. [Dateline/MSNBC]