The New York Times reports that a Queens-based drug gang, huge fans of HBO's very fine crime series The Wire, adopted the same strategy that the (fictional) Bell-Barksdale crew used with respect to disposable cell phones:
The accused leaders of the Queens gang, whose arrests were announced yesterday by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and District Attorney Richard A. Brown of Queens, mimicked the practice of characters in "The Wire," using disposable cellphones to make it more difficult for the police to eavesdrop on them.
Each time the suspects switched phones, investigators and prosecutors had to go back to court and seek approval for a new wiretap from a State Supreme Court justice, a labor-intensive and time-consuming process, said Sgt. Felipe Rodriguez, a supervisor on the case.
"Believe it or not, these guys copy 'The Wire,' " said the sergeant, who is assigned to the Organized Crime Investigation Division. "They were constantly dumping their phones. It made our job so much harder."
Amusingly, the cops investigating the real-life Queens gang are also apparently big fans of the show.
If you've never seen an episode of The Wire, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It's on hiatus at the moment, but this is the best thing on television right now by a country mile. The first season is out on DVD now, and season 2 is coming out on January 25--put them in your Netflix queue or look for them at your local video store.
Incidentally, it seems that it is far from a sure thing that The Wire will be coming back for a fourth season. Make some noise, yo. There are petitions circulating, but I've already contacted HBO directly and would like to suggest that you do so, too.