Rafael Quintero Curiel, the lead press advance person for the Mexican Delegation at a recent conference in New Orleans, was caught stealing Blackberry devices belonging to members of the White House. Quintero Curiel apparently took six or more smartphones from a table outside a room where his delegation was meeting with US President Bush and drove to the airport with the handsets. Secret Service officials caught up to Quintero Curiel before he could board his plane, confronted him with security camera footage of the theft, and recovered the devices, which likely contained all sorts of government info, being that they're hooked into White House staffers' email accounts.
While it's standard operating procedure for BlackBerries and other cell phones to be left outside of the room during high-level meetings, usually the handsets are deposited into a locker or other secure receptacle. For whatever reasons devices were left on an unguarded table this time, and the theft went unnoticed until after the meeting had broken up and staffers started asking, "Um, where's my BlackBerry? Am I being Punk'd, Mr. President?" Or something like that.
Quintero Curiel apparently claimed diplomatic immunity (does that apply to members of the press? really?), handed the phones over to SS officers, and left New Orleans with the Mexican delegation. Mexican Embassy spokesperson Ricardo Alday said Thursday that once Quintero Curiel got back to Mexico City he was asked to resign.
Crime doesn't pay kids. Especially not when you're palming smartphones in plain view 100 feet from the President of the United States.