Retired San Diego police chief William Lansdowne has joined a controversial firm named ecoATM. The company installs ATM-like receptacles that pay instant cash for cell phones.
Trouble is, law-enforcement officials were saying last year that the ATMs were stimulating cell-phone theft.
"It's a motivator for the criminal element," Cathy Lanier, Washington DC's police chief, told NBC's Today.com in May 2013. "I can knock you down and steal your phone, find an ecoATM, I can get up to $300 in cash for that phone," said Lanier.
EcoATM has a so-called safety system: users insert their driver's license and the machine takes their picture to be sure that users are who they say they are. But Today.com tested that system and found it didn't work. A company spokesman said sometimes the machine can mess up.
EcoATM announced Lansdowne's hiring on Wednesday, June 11. He was chief of the San Diego Police Department for 11 years.