The head of the Major Case Squad of St. Louis is calling out Tmobile for delaying a 20-person double-murder investigation by several days by demanding an unusual $50 fee for accessing victims’ phone records.
The police requested cellphone records from the victims they said were key in their case but the cellphone provider wouldn’t hand them over without paying a $50 fee. After several days of bickering, one of the police captains just whipped out his own personal credit card and paid for them.
In contrast, Sprint gave the team cellphone records without charging a fee. “They handled business with us the way business between police and business should be handled,” the aptly-named Sheriff Justus told the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Reached for comment, Tmobile told Consumerist, “We have a responsibility to uphold Federal privacy laws. As a result, we are very careful with how we manage and disclose private information of any U.S. citizen and our own customers. Working on this case with the Sherriff’s Department of St. Clair County, T-Mobile first responded immediately by providing 48 hours of historic records on the accounts requested. We did this to help the investigation as quickly as we could. However, T-Mobile and other wireless carriers are regulated by the Federal Government in terms of the privacy of our customers’ account information. When the Sherriff’s Department asked for additional information, we informed them that they needed to provide us legal documentation and we were provided with a valid warrant. T-Mobile did not process a $50 fee for this information. In all of our work with law enforcement agencies around the country, T-Mobile works as quickly as possible and as cooperatively as possible to help with investigations.”