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Shopkeeper takes bytes out of crime

Thanks to a shopkeeper and his snappy new cell phone, a Kodak moment became a Maalox moment for a pair of wanted crooks. When Catherine Zeta-Jones says "Get more" for a cell phone firm, surely this isn't what she means!

This sounds like the beginning of a joke, but here goes.

Two crooks in Italy were loitering outside a tobacco shop. And then they got burned. You might say they had a very bad Kodak moment, although no ordinary camera was involved.

Upon spotting the two men, the tech-savvy shopkeeper reached for his mobile phone. Before the bad guys could say "formaggio!" (remember, this happened in Italy), the clerk used the phone to snap a photo and e-mail the mobile mug shot to police.

When the polizia sifted through their files, they discovered the duo was wanted for a series of robberies.

And for the case's photo finish? Thanks to the mobile-phone evidence, the bad guys will be kept on hold for a while. They were each sentenced to six months in jail. Ciao, guys.

Police say this is the first time a picture from a phone was used to win a conviction, which probably won't inspire any mobility providers to start using the slogan "reach out and catch someone" (namely, a criminal) or "let your fingers do the nabbing." Still, it's a ringing endorsement for a new breed of cell phones.

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