Data From Smartwatch Help Investigators Solve The Case Of The Stabbing That Never Happened

from the regular-wikipedia-browns-these-guys dept

Once again, another crime has been solved with the help of smart devices that shows “going dark” is mainly just an FBI product it’s having trouble moving in such a sunshine-y market.

Third party apps and a surveillance camera allowed investigators to solve one crime (by determining it never happened) and charge someone for the crime that actually happened. [via Slashdot]

A 26-year-old man faked his own stabbing at the West Bloomfield synagogue where he worked and then reported he was attacked because of his Jewish faith, authorities say.

Now Sean Samitt is facing a felony charge of filing a false police report, according to West Bloomfield Police.

Samitt claimed to have been attacked while leaving work at the Temple Kol Ami. Supposedly the attackers stabbed him while yelling things about “you Jews” and “too many immigrants.” Investigators were unable to find a weapon, blood, or any other evidence of the crime in the parking lot that Samitt claimed the attack took place.

What they were able to find was a security camera attached to a house across the street that captured the crime that never happened. When they confronted Samitt with this, his story changed. He hadn’t actually been hate crimed. Instead, he claimed he had passed out (due to an unnamed health condition) while doing dishes at the synagogue.

He then claimed that this was kind of a hate crime as well, because he had been “harassed” about his medical condition at the synagogue and felt compelled to create a cover story for his inability to do dishes without losing consciousness.

Sometimes the best surveillance is the surveillance we inflict upon ourselves.

Officers were able to obtain information from Samitt’s cellphone health application that was synced to his Apple Watch, confirming he did not lose consciousness. Samitt then admitted to intentionally stabbing himself.

A wealth of data about people’s lives is generated daily by anyone carrying a smartphone or wearing a smartwatch. Device encryption is only preventing investigators from seeing a very small slice of that. Almost every third party app generates records law enforcement can obtain from developers or in the multiple clouds storing data and communications. The few communication options that are completely locked down may impede a handful of investigations. But for the most part, law enforcement is coming out ahead in the so-called tech war, years after device encryption became a standard offering.

Filed Under: , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Data From Smartwatch Help Investigators Solve The Case Of The Stabbing That Never Happened”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Bishop says:

Re: Re:

Yes: older encryption is broken. Older app versions are also insecure, as are older locks, older WW2 codes; and even many older medical treatments are unsound. Also, Alchemy’s busted.

You’re not the victim of a lie you bought into, but of a particular bias you created yourself. Keep things up to code so you won’t have a bad surprise.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


Collecting information from his electronics provided independent corroboration of the falsity of the original report. Hypothetically, suppose the following chain of events had happened instead:

  • Man files police report.
  • Police confront man.
  • Man recants report, admits it was false.
  • Police file charges. Police believe they have an easy win, and do not bother collecting the smartwatch / cellphone evidence.
  • At trial, man takes the stand and testifies that he never admitted the report was false.

We now have the man’s word against the police. While jurors will often trust the police in this case, the police may have felt it worthwhile to collect and have available independent evidence (other than the officer’s memory of the recanting) that shows the original report was false. With that evidence introduced, the defendant then needs to convince the jurors that the evidence is wrong or misleading.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

People hating on anyone isn’t a crime, it’s a First Amendment protected pastime.

Committing a crime out of, or partially inspired by, hate for a white guy because he is white doesn’t fit the current legal definition of hate crime because white and male are about as culturally privileged as you can get. It’s a stupid name and a fairly broken concept, but the intent was to help protect the less privileged classes from being attacked by the (on average, by class) members of more powerful classes.

It’s a thing that happens, but legislation intended to handle it is generally not well thought-out.

But all sorts of people hate on other people and, yeah, we could do with less of it. Some people have a reason, although hating everyone fitting a certain race or whatever isn’t the best option.

I hate hateful people and denialists, but i wish i felt that way less.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »