Coffee Break Training: Fire/Arson and Explosion Investigation Curriculum: Cell Phones -- An Evidentiary Gold Mine for Investigators [open pdf - 174KB]
"Cell phones are commonplace in our society and used daily by millions of people, including criminals. Most cell phones have a basic set of comparable features and capabilities. Often, cell phone records are used in court to establish people's movements. Cell phone data may answer the who, what, where, how, and when questions. First and foremost, the first nugget of gold is the phone itself. Cell phones are constantly communicating with a network, sending pings to the nearest transmission tower, which allows telephone calls to be routed correctly. Multiple antennas are tracking the phone's signal since each tower only covers a few square miles. The cell phone service provider keeps records of which towers the phone has contacted or pinged, and when. This information can prove invaluable to investigators to assist them in the successful investigation and prosecution of arson cases."
Coffee Break Training - Fire Investigation Series No. FI-2012-1
United States Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/