Slater Celebrates Passage of “Detective Brian Simonsen Law”

Assemblyman Matt Slater (R,C-Yorktown) is proud to announce the passage of the “Detective Brian Simonsen Law” (A.08994A) in the Assembly. First proposed by Assemblyman Slater last year, the bill has garnered widespread bipartisan support. This proposal mandates cell phone carriers to limit or disable services to a stolen device once notified of the theft. The law aims to deter criminals from robbing cell phones and enhance the safety of New Yorkers, preventing future tragedies like the death of Detective Simonsen.

Detective Brian Simonsen tragically lost his life on Feb. 12, 2019, while responding to an armed robbery at a cell phone store in Queens. During the incident, the perpetrator forced employees into the back room and then exited the store brandishing a weapon at responding officers. In the ensuing exchange of gunfire, Detective Simonsen was struck and killed.

“Public safety is a major concern for many New Yorkers. By ensuring prompt action by cell phone carriers, we can deter these crimes and enhance public safety. While it's a small step in the long journey ahead, I thank my colleagues for supporting and passing this commonsense proposal that memorializes the hero that Detective Simonsen is,” said Assemblyman Slater.

In 2018, more than 70 cell phone stores were robbed in New York City. Although mobile carriers can disable and blacklist stolen phones, many incidents go unreported, leading to incomplete blacklists. Even when services are disabled, stolen phones can often still be used internationally or via Wi-Fi connections. Alarmingly, these robberies are frequently violent; last year, an elderly Bronx man was severely beaten for his phone.

“As a retired NYPD Lieutenant, I have seen firsthand the impact of phone theft on both victims and law enforcement. 'Detective Brian Simonsen’s Law’ is a critical step in addressing this issue by requiring wireless communication service providers to disable services to stolen wireless phones. This legislation will help deter theft, guard personal information and protect our community by making stolen cell phones useless. I am honored to co-sponsor this bill in memory of Detective Brian Simonsen, who made the ultimate sacrifice while investigating an armed robbery of a cell phone store,” said Assemblyman Mike Reilly (R,C-Staten Island).

“Detective Simonson is a hero who tragically lost his life when he interrupted a robbery at a Queens cell phone store. This commonsense legislation will help prevent other such tragedies. I am proud to have worked on this legislation with my colleagues and commend Detective Endowment Agency (DEA) President Paul DiGiacomo for his tireless advocacy,” said Assemblyman Michael Tannousis (R,C-Staten Island/Brooklyn).

“Cell phone store robberies are dangerous for employees, customers and law enforcement,” said Assemblywoman Amy Paulin. “We tragically saw this with the untimely death of Detective Brian Simonsen as he was responding to a cell phone store robbery in Queens. By requiring cell phone carriers to shut off service to stolen phones, we’ll deter criminals from robbing cell phones and hopefully prevent future tragedies,” said Assemblywoman Amy Paulin.

“The Detectives’ Endowment Association is grateful to the New York Assembly members who supported the ‘Detective Brian Simonsen Bill’ that will help keep New Yorkers safe embodying Brian’s legacy of heroic service. Brian lost his life because of the actions of a violent criminal who was robbing a cellphone store in order to resell the stolen devices. Making those devices useless puts an end to the violent black market, and will undoubtedly save the lives of the public and police,” said DEA President Paul DiGiacomo.

*Click here for a video of Assemblyman Matt Slater*