Cell Phone “Tower Dump” Sends Man to Prison For 14 Years-to-Life

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A suspect convicted last fall on evidence based on cell tower info, aka, a “tower dump,” has resulted in Steven Pallett receiving a sentence of 14 years-to-life in prison by Spokane County Superior Court Judge Julie M. McKay, according to the County of Spokane Police Department.

In September of 2018, police in Spokane County, WA announced they identified and arrested a man, by using cell phone data, charging him with kidnapping in the first degree and rape. Sexual Assault Unit Detectives obtained a search warrant for a cell phone “tower dump” associated with local carriers, servicing the area of Sprague and Hatch and Valley Mission Park during the specific time frames the suspect was believed to have picked up the victim (8:40-9:05 p.m.) and when the crime occurred (9:00-9:30 p.m.). Investigators then systematically eliminated phone numbers which didn’t coincide with the crime timeline or details.

The “tower dump” information (consisting of numbers only-no identifying information) produced over 17,000 cell phone numbers between all the carriers from the two locations. The numbers were cross referenced and numbers failing to match both locations during the determined time frames were eliminated.

Of the remaining, approximately 120 possible matches, females and males who did not fit the victim’s description of the suspect were eliminated, leaving 17 possibilities. While viewing driver’s license pictures of the 17 possibilities, only one, Steven Pallett, was immediately recognized as matching.

January 28, 2019

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