2005-01-21 / Community

NYPD Radio On E-bay Causes Consternation

At a time when terrorist alerts are at an all-time high, terrorists would have no trouble purchasing a radio that can be programmed with all of the New York City police and fire department frequencies.

The terrorists who wanted the radio would not even have to go into a store to make the purchase, which would allow them, according to one expert, to make false police calls, direct police, fire and EMS personnel to phony emergencies and to “step on” transmissions from legitimate radios, preventing those transmissions from going through. In fact, the terrorists can find the radios on a Website that many local residents access each day – E-Bay.

E-Bay item 5744622684, which ends today at 5:51 p.m. offers the radios and programming information for $550 on the “Buy Now” feature. Bidding for the radio was at $475 on Tuesday afternoon. The website says, “Auction for one Motorola Saber III radio in a Saber II case. Reconditioned from a Motorola shop. CUHF 458-490mHz, 5D core, securenet capable however the securenet switch has been removed from the top of the radio and, 120 channels. I can not offer programming. All equipment is guaranteed working and in the condition described here upon arrival. The 458-490 band width is a rare public safety model that was/is used in certain metropolitan areas with numerous frequencies within this split This radio, and the others I have were used as personal radios for work and volunteering in the neighboring New York City. We no longer need these radios so we are selling them the price is up there because this is what we had to pay for them and for the work that went into them.” The seller is listed as living in Valley Stream on Long Island.

“The radios are really not illegal if they are not used in an illegal way,” one ource told The Wave. “Many cops buy them to use as personal communication equipment.”

One Rockaway resident who sent email to The Wave alerting the paper to the sale, but who asked to remain anonymous, said, “I think a terrorist or a criminal would like nothing better than to be able to listen to and respond to NYPD and to emergency workers in general. The radio shown on the link [the E-bay site] look like stolen police radios. How can you tell? Because on the picture [on E-bay] the radio is on and the code is CW SOD. That is one of two frequencies. Either it is the NYPD citywide Special Operations Division frequency.”

A spokesperson for the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information (DCPI) said that it has not had much of a problem with rouge radios in the past, but that it understands the potential of having a radio in the hands of an outsider. He asked The Wave to forward the link to the E-bay auction to his office and promised, “they would investigate the sale of the radio from their end.”

“People are not supposed to have this,” the spokesperson said. “There is the potential for a problem if the public started using our radios to disrupt our operations.”

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