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Greenfield Police Looking for Microwaves to Aid in Investigations

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — This morning, Lieutenant William Gordon sought help from Facebook. He posted a status asking for an old microwave oven. It didn’t need to work, but the door needed to seal. He wants to use this microwave as a makeshift Faraday cage to store cell phones waiting to be searched after a warrant is issued.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that police need to obtain a search warrant to search cell phones. That has Greenfield police concerned. So, why a microwave oven? It blocks radio waves so someone won’t be able to remotely wipe their cell phones while they are stored in evidence rooms. Usually, Faraday cages are used to block radio waves. However, prices listed online are as high as $1,700. The police department will need two.

“These bags are about $50 a piece. They’re very expensive and we have to go through probably 20 or 30 bags a year costing the town one to two thousand dollars just in the town themselves. When i was researching how to get cheaper bags, i noticed many articles online that said microwave can be used as a Faraday cage. A cage being more or less like a box we can store our phones in so the radio waves won’t go through them.”

Lieutenant Gordon doesn’t know if the microwave will actually work, but if it does — he hopes the experiment will help other stations as well.

“One famous APP out there is Find My IPhone from apple. It’s really meant to wipe a cellphone that’s been stolen from you but can be used to wipe evidence from our phones as well,” said Gordon.


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