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Man Arrested For Taking Photo of Open ATM 1232

Posted by kdawson
from the i-will-tackle-you dept.
net_shaman writes in with word of a Seattle man who was arrested for taking a photo of an ATM being serviced. "Today I was shopping at the downtown Seattle REI. I was about to buy a Thule hitch mount bike rack. They were out of the piece that locks the bike rack into the hitch. So I was in the customer service line to special order one. It was a long line and while I was waiting, I saw two of guys (employees of Loomis, as I later learned) refilling the ATM. I walked over and took a picture with my iPhone of them and more interestingly of the open ATM. I took the picture because I'm fascinated by the insides of things that we don't normally get to see. ... That was when Officer GE Abed (#6270) spun me around and put handcuffs on me."
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Man Arrested For Taking Photo of Open ATM

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  • Today... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:42PM (#27930397)

    FML

    • Re:Today... (Score:5, Informative)

      by beckett (27524) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @09:08PM (#27931535) Homepage Journal
      calling REI seattle branch (888.873.1938 toll free) directs you to REI Public Affairs information. their number is 253.395.5958 Loomis & Fargo phone number 206.802.0410 in seattle. calling them i got a phone number that goes to someone's personal pager, so i think they may not be interested in having further conversations about this* *call often
      • Re:Today... (Score:5, Informative)

        by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @09:27PM (#27931779) Homepage

        calling REI seattle branch (888.873.1938 toll free) directs you to REI Public Affairs information. their number is 253.395.5958

        Before referring me to the "public affairs" for "more current" information, the manager told me, that REI have not in fact accused the guy of "trespassing":

        He took me out of the cell and took off the cuffs, had me sign a "You have been trespassed by REI and can't go back for a year" form then Officer Abed walked me out the door. And that was that.

        In other words, it seems like the pig lied. Surprise, surprise...

        • Re:Today... (Score:5, Informative)

          by packeteer (566398) <packeteer@noSpAm.subdimension.com> on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @09:55PM (#27932071)

          http://www.rei.com/help/feedback/privacyfb.html [rei.com]

          That is the link to send them an email about "privacy". I am sending them an email outlining that if the details are true as they are being presented that I am shocked and embarrassed that REI loss prevention would help with this.

          I am an REI member and I shop at the downtown Seattle location often. I am providing them with my membership number and I hope to hear back from them. As a coop they really don't have any interesting in pissing off their members so we will see how this goes.

          At the same time if it is false then this guy is accusing them of something false. I am however inclined to believe him.

          Also recently I looked up some of the laws around this completely unrelated to this. In Washington state there was once a law requiring a citizen to present ID to a police officer without a crime being committed. Refusing to show ID was a crime itself. This law was struck down as unconstitutional by the WA state supreme court. If there really was no law being broken it is not obstruction to not present ID, the court was very clear about that.

    • Re:Today... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @02:24AM (#27934073)
      In Australia, an email has recently done the rounds containing a .pdf file about a recent ATM scam. The email contained hundreds of pictures of devices that have been fitted to ATMs which look like normal components that capture both the card number and user's PIN, which are subsequently collected by the scammer not long after that.

      This email was the first thing that came to my mind. I don't really see anybody looking from the ATM refiller's perspective; I am sure they have been told to record events like these; and for this exact reason they had the incident report.

      I don't know what is up with America. Every time a police officer arrests somebody over being a smart-arse about something trivial, you all scream FUD. I do not know anybody that even has or has used a lawyer before here. Has your legal system become so backward that exercising your amendments forbade common sense? Yes, i have prepared myself to be modded troll, and yes; i listened to the entire lecture by Professor James Duane (which i found very interesting), but there's no burglary or murder going on here. A simple "I took a photo of your ATM because I like to learn how the insides of things work; Would you like me to delete the photo from my iPhone and Google it when i get home instead?" should have sufficed.

      The mentioned .pdf can be found here [commbank.com.au].
      • Re:Today... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ivan256 (17499) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @10:18AM (#27937329)

        This email was the first thing that came to my mind. I don't really see anybody looking from the ATM refiller's perspective; I am sure they have been told to record events like these; and for this exact reason they had the incident report.

        Oh? Recording the incident involves cuffing the guy?

        A simple "I took a photo of your ATM because I like to learn how the insides of things work; Would you like me to delete the photo from my iPhone and Google it when i get home instead?" should have sufficed.

        A simple "If you didn't want people seeing the inside of your ATM you shouldn't have opened it up in front of a crowd of people. Oh, and if you think I'm going to delete the photo you're in for some disappointment" should have sufficed. The security guard should then proceeded to tuck his dick between his legs and hobble back to tell his boss how he should be fired for being clinically stupid.

        Your post doesn't compute. Thinking about this from the refiller's perspective, I can't imagine how the guy was actually following any sort of well thought out procedure. If you don't want somebody seeing how your ATM works, make sure they're not standing there before you start mucking about with it. And of course people get upset about this kind of thing. You're reading a site where a fair percentage of the readership could find themselves in the same situation. This isn't about some random guy getting arrested for being a "smart-arse"... This is about seeing ourselves in the same situation, and not wanting to be arrested for it. Last I checked, being a "smart-arse" isn't illegal, but cops abusing their power to intimidate somebody is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:42PM (#27930403)

    It seems that he was arrested for being a smart ass. Not that it is a good reason to be arrested, but still an important distinction.

    • by DrLang21 (900992) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:47PM (#27930475)
      Normally when I see stuff like this, I would indeed call it a case of being a smart ass, like the guy who puts Goatse on his laptop wallpaper when he goes through airport security. But how is this being a smart ass?
      Him
      When you're done over here, come talk to me.
      Me
      No, thanks.
      Him
      Don't try to leave. I will tackle you.
      Me
      No, you wonâ(TM)t.
      Him
      I'll call the cops.
      Me
      I can't stop you.

      He has no reasonable obligation to talk to an ATM repair man.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @08:18PM (#27930935)

        Whose the guy that keeps saying "Me"?

    • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:50PM (#27930515)

      Actually it looks like he wasn't arrested. He was simply detained for refusal to provide ID to the 'real' cops when they showed up, who probably had no interest in being there or dealing with a smart ass.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:54PM (#27930581)
      I headed in to reading this article very skeptically when I saw he described himself as an anarchist at the top of the page. That said, it sounds like he wasn't that much of a jerk or the cops would have slapped on resisting arrest or other charges that can similarly be pulled out of their ass.

      Ultimately, what I take from this is that it is true that cameras in today's America are still considered dangerous weapons, and that Seattle police have learned nothing since the stink about harassing a photo student for taking pictures of the Ballard Locks. [google.com] Score another point in the win column for the terrorists.
    • by CarpetShark (865376) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @08:50PM (#27931327)

      It seems that he was arrested for being a smart ass.

      That happens a lot.

      Officer: "You're under arrest for driving with only three wheels."

      Driver: "But there are four wheels. Two on the front and two on the back. Two plus two equals four."

      Officer: "Alright smart-ass, out of the car."

  • precautionary... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Brigadier (12956) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:44PM (#27930415)

    Probably just for show, with no past history and no way to show intent they have to let you go. Of course there are those of us who would say 'if it's a secret then don't do it in the open'

  • by coryboehne (244614) * on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:44PM (#27930435)

    The on duty desk officer assured me that it did not happen today, it was a few days ago. The officer is employed there. And he also assured me that the facts as they were being presented were inaccurate.. However, you can call their media unit at (206) 684-5520 for more information.

    By the way, they're getting slashdotted!

  • by Bryansix (761547) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:45PM (#27930441) Homepage
    I would suspect they might arrest you however it is if they press charges that really counts. The First Amendment protects photography. There is a stupid doctrine of check for "newsworthiness" but that's just a bunch of stupid activist judges overstepping their bounds. The real truth is that per the Constitution of the United States you can take any photo you want so long as you are on public property at the time and there is no expectation of privacy ( an example would be taking a photo of a nude sunbather in their backyard from a helicopter).
  • The Internet Age (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sunderland56 (621843) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:51PM (#27930529)
    It is simply amazing how many companies don't understand the true power of the internet. As a result of one single incident like this, REI is going to lose many customers and many sales (I for one won't shop there any more until this gets resolved favorably). Bad news travels extremely quickly these days.

    REI spends a huge amount of money on marketing - and this year's entire budget just got flushed down the toilet. Evidently they should spend a bit more on employee training. (Yes, the guilty parties in this case were from a subcontractor - but REI's own security personnel should have stepped in and done the right thing).

    REI also promises a 24-hour response time to email - my (politely worded) email about this issue hasn't been replied to, 25+ hours and counting later.
  • by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:51PM (#27930545) Homepage
    I was in the supermarket and the ATM was right next to the produce section. I had a cart, a bag in my hands and was getting ready to pick out some plums which were right next to me when the Brinks rent-a-cop decided he was Dirty Harry and told me to back away. I sent them an angry letter and got no response.
    • by Mr. Roadkill (731328) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @08:26PM (#27931039)

      I had a cart, a bag in my hands and was getting ready to pick out some plums which were right next to me when the Brinks rent-a-cop decided he was Dirty Harry and told me to back away. I sent them an angry letter and got no response.

      The better reaction would have been to piss your pants and faint at having had a gun pulled on you. THAT, by the time it got documented by the supermarket and possibly even in ambulance and police records, would provide indisputable proof that something happened. Odds are Harry didn't file any kind of incident report and denied it even happened, so it would have been your word against his and he would have made you out to be a crank.

      Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment and facing a gun held by someone who may or may not shoot, most people aren't up to creatively finding ways to escalate the situation in their favour. That's what Harry was counting on, and why *some* rent-a-cops will continue to get their jollies giving people a hard time.

      That said, those guys have a hard job. They never know whether the person with the bag and trolley is planning to pull out a machine gun and rob them or buy some plums. Odds are it'll be the latter, but if I did that for a living I wouldn't want someone to have to explain the exception to *my* wife and kids. Whenever I see an open ATM, I try to keep a reasonable distance away just to give them some space and avoid making their job any harder.

    • by LordKazan (558383) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @08:33PM (#27931133) Homepage Journal

      That's when you

      1) Demand his name and information
      2) Call the police and file a report
      3) Call Brinks and file a report

  • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:55PM (#27930597) Homepage Journal

    Not to defend Officer Abed's overreaction (nor her probably violation of your civil rights) but when interacting a heavily armed lady who's authorized to use deadly force and deprive you of your freedom, it's absolutely the wrong time to cop an attitude. Save the "playing the 9/11 card" rhetoric for your blog.

    When dealing with a police officer who you believe is abusing their authority, there is only one sensible strategy: you say, "Officer, would you please explain to me what law I've broken?" If they can't give you a proper answer, you say, "I'm sorry, but if I'm not accused of anything, I don't think I have to talk to you."

    Say these things in a respectful tone of voice. And then Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Getting into lame political arguments with a cop is not ever going to accomplish anything useful. On the contrary, arguments and self-justification can give them the legal hook they need to act against you. If you don't believe me, ask Randal Schwartz.

    • by niko9 (315647) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @08:55PM (#27931391)

      When dealing with a police officer who you believe is abusing their authority, there is only one sensible strategy: you say, "Officer, would you please explain to me what law I've broken?" If they can't give you a proper answer, you say, "I'm sorry, but if I'm not accused of anything, I don't think I have to talk to you."

      Say these things in a respectful tone of voice. And then Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Getting into lame political arguments with a cop is not ever going to accomplish anything useful. On the contrary, arguments and self-justification can give them the legal hook they need to act against you. If you don't believe me, ask Randal Schwartz.

      He's right. Personally, I wouldn't even so go as far as asking what law I broke. Just ask if you are being detained or not. If the answer is yes, don't say another *word*.

      For every one else I would watch this video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8167533318153586646 [google.com]

      Watch this video at least once a year. Every year.

      This video is of law professor James Duane giving a lecture on why you should never, *EVER*, talk to the police without a lawyer no matter what the circumstances. Even as something as seemingly simple as getting a speeding ticket. He also lays out (in layman's terms) why the fifth amendment was designed to protect the innocent. He gives equal time to a police detective as balance to everything he had just said.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:56PM (#27930603) Journal
    The guy takes the point of view that he was doing nothing wrong, and the rent-a-cops should have realized that, because it's not logical.

    On the other side, you have two guys with guns and tons of money. Why do they have guns? Because people with tons of money tend to get robbed a lot. This isn't theoretical, do a search for 'armored car robbery' and you will see a bunch of them. So these two guys have more than a little concern. And in his mind, when someone takes a picture, he thinks, "this is not normal. Something could be bad." Is there a better way to rob an ATM? Probably. But thieves aren't always the smartest guys, and it is possible to think of a robbery scenario that would start with someone taking a camera. These guys are basically going to try to be as defensive as possible, because frankly, it is a scary job, and they could die.

    The biggest mistake this guy did was to talk back to the police. Bad idea. Chris Rock did a public information announcement about how not to get your ass kicked by the police. [youtube.com] Sure, sometimes police are overbearing and arrogant, and that is annoying, but the proper time to fight back against that is NOT when you are about to be arrested, and the proper way to do it isn't to be arrogant back.

    Unless you have a serious reason not to, the best thing to do is cooperate with the police. Unless you want to spend the night in jail like this guy.
  • His mistake (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:58PM (#27930639) Homepage Journal

    Don't talk to the police! [google.com.au] When are people going to get this through their thick heads? There is one question you need to ask the police: "Am I free to go?" and maybe a followup of "Am I being detained?" which is the same question, really. If they say yes to the first, you walk away. If they so no to the second, you walk away! Don't try to justify your actions, you're not required to. Don't try to be smart, or demand your "rights". And don't, under any circumstances, answer any questions.

    Personally, I blame all these cop shows on tv. The "interrogation" scenes make for good drama, but only stupid people talk to the police.

  • REI's response (Score:5, Informative)

    by kfort (1132) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @08:09PM (#27930805)

    I wrote REI yesterday to express my disapproval and this is the form letter I got back last night:

    (what I wrote)

    I'm very disappointed with how you treat your customers and I will make
    a point not to shop at your store when I need outdoor equipment. You
    should respect your customers and not treat them like criminals for
    taking pictures.

    (what they wrote)
    We are aware of the incident at our Seattle store in which an individual
    was removed by Seattle Police. While it's unfortunate this occurred on
    store property, the ATM machine is owned and maintained by an
    independent bank vendor. We did not call the police and did not detain
    the individual. We regret this situation happened, but feel our team
    acted appropriately under the circumstances and are committed to
    providing a welcoming and safe environment for all of our customers.

    Thank you for taking time to provide us your feedback. We appreciate the
    opportunity to respond. For additional information, I'd encourage you to
    contact the Seattle Police Department.

    Best,
    Bethany

    Bethany Nielson
    Public Affairs | Recreational Equipment, Inc.

  • by doronbc (1434117) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @08:22PM (#27930981)
    You would be surprised what comes up when you google image search "inside of atm" with quotes & safe search off.
  • by MrKaos (858439) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @08:45PM (#27931273) Journal

    He should have softened them up first with a base level social engineering attack something like:

    Hey Buddy, I've just been learning how to service these, mind if I take a couple of snaps of this one to show my teacher, I've never seen this model before.

    or

    My boy is interested in the inside of these mind if I take a piccy so he can have a look?

    The combinations of bullshit are endless but you get the point. Instead of being confrontational he could of said, Talk to you later? sure buddy. did his business forget it and walk out. If confronted again he could have diffused the situation, or he could have said Talk to you later? I'm not going anywhere in *this* line, what's up? if the security guard revealed he was upset about the pictures, he should of apologised profusely, said he would delete the pictures immediately, fiddle with the phone and not delete them, then look at the guard and say - all done - sorry about that.

    It's obvious these guys motivation is 'wespect my horthorita' so he should have played on it and not looked like a threat, the guard might have just been interested in having a look at his iphone as much as he was interested in the inside of an atm. Instead the subject reinforced the marks insecurities by being confrontational instead of comforting them. Frankly whilst our subject probably didn't deserve the treatment he also brought it upon himself.

    • by marco.antonio.costa (937534) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @08:56PM (#27931397)

      I see where you're coming from, but I think it's not very nice to say he 'brought it upon himself'. He didn't do anything wrong.

      He could've played the 'cool' card like you say, but then we wouldn't have this nice story about abuse of authority.

      We need to stand up more against this shit while it's doable, I mean, getting cuffed and losing half your day. A hassle.

      If we don't, things might come to a point where we can't stand up anymore because we're just taken outside and shot. And nobody is allowed to say your name again under the same penalty.

      Being Orwellian and way out there on purpose to drive the point home, of course.

  • by John Murdoch (102085) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @08:55PM (#27931381) Homepage Journal

    Folks,

    Posting angry comments here on SlashDot can be recreational--but all the ranting and raving anyone does here won't make a bit of difference in the real world.

    What WILL make a difference in the real world, of course, is taking advantage of all of the links so helpfully provided in TFA. All you have to do is send a polite email to some of the people involved, pointing out that the two Loomis employees acted really foolishly; that the REI "loss prevention officer" made REI look...well, like losers; and that the Seattle Police Department really, really needs to send a couple of officers off to Constitution Camp.

    Here's the email I just sent to the U.S. headquarters of Loomis (employer of the guards who started this nonsense):

    Folks,
    It looks like two of your employees went way, way far out of their way to find something to step in this morning in Seattle:

    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/05/12/2239211&art_pos=1 [slashdot.org]

    Follow the link: it shows a photo of your two employees, shortly before they grossly violated the civil rights of a law-abiding citizen. And had their stupidity compounded by the Seattle police.

    Talk to somebody in your I.T. department who is knowledgeable about the Internet. Ask him or her what happens when a story like this gets posted all over the web. About how tens, or hundreds of thousands of emails flood in to the responsible parties (like, for instance, REI--YOUR CUSTOMER). And how that can have a really, really damaging impact on YOUR CUSTOMER's business.

    Then you might consider the impact on your relationship with a corporate customer after two of your employees have exposed them to a phenomenal amount of really, really bad publicity.

    You might want to think about how you could mollify this guy.

    Cheers!

    Oh--and just to save you the trouble, I emailed your corporate headquarters in Sweden to bring them up to speed on the story too.

    Civil rights are like muscles. If you don't exercise them, they waste away.

    • by thenols (876019) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @09:59PM (#27932123)

      Civil rights are like muscles. If you don't exercise them, they waste away.

      I just talked to someone at Loomis and expressed my discontent with the situation.

      Then I called the REI talked to the manager, and she said that REI did _not_ request a tresspass against the customer, and that he was invited back to the store. She also told me that a couple months ago they had planned to remove the ATM because the bank that owned it wasn't making enough money on it, and that the removal of this ATM from their REI had nothing to do with the incident.

      Then I called the precinct, and they basically dismissed it as "don't believe everything you read on the internet" and gave me the phone number of the public affairs office. So I called them and he said there are always two sides to a story so don't be to surprised if you have only read one side. He then asked if I had read the police report yet. I agreed that there is always two sides to a story, and then asked how I could get a copy of the police report to get the rest of the story. He said you can come in person to the precinct and request it, or you could send an email to spdpdr@seattle.gov and request it. You need the date (May 8th), the time (4:53pm) and the location to get the report.

      The detective also said they wouldn't impose tresspassing on someone unless the owner or a manager of the store requested it, which is in direct conflict to what the manager just told me...

  • by Qubit (100461) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @08:55PM (#27931389) Homepage Journal

    ...people are going to see.

    That's pretty much a "No duh!" situation there.

    What if they guy had had a lipstick cam behind his ear? What if he just walked up to the techs while they were refilling the ATM and made smalltalk about how he used to refill ATMs as well? He could have gotten MUCH better snapshots and the techs would have been none the wiser.

    If companies don't want people to see the innards of an ATM, then put up a curtain around them while you're refilling them. No, I'm serious. Walk into the place with a folded-up room divider and your boxes 'O cash, set up the divider around the ATM, and have one guy go inside and fill the machine while the other guy waits outside and watches everyone. Then you take down the divider and go back to the armored car. Simple.

    That way if someone tries to take a picture of the ATM, it's really obvious that the techs are trying to keep it shielded and it's a lot easier for them to tell the person to stop and/or call the police on them.

    Second, people who aren't law enforcement agents cannot generally stop or detain people. They may have a license to carry a handgun, and they may dress like a police officer, but they aren't empowered to act like an officer. If someone tries to talk to you or asks you to talk to them, politely refuse and walk away.

    In this kind of situation, if a guy with a gun who is not a cop tells me that he wants to talk to me, I'd usually suggest walking away. Put down the purchases, hand them to a friend, ask the woman behind the counter to put them on hold for you, whatever. Just walk out of there.

    The benefit of such a situation is that you get out of there, you clear your head, etc... and then you can go back and conduct your business later, hopefully when man-with-gun is gone. And if this armed person who is not a member of the law enforcement tries to detain you (an unarmed person walking away), then the cops, the court, the company, and the crowd around you (yes, I alliterated that for y'all) will probably be much more supportive of your actions.

    Unless this guy with the camera was an active danger for them, then I don't see any reason for them to talk to him. The second the armed guys engage him they know that it will put him on the defensive, and considering the fact that there are two armed guys there, the power dynamic is going to get really bad, really quickly.

    The only thing these guys should say is something like "please stand back from the ATM," "Please don't take pictures", etc... The only time they should engage with a civilian is when they are feeling actively threatened.

    "The Loomis guys wanted me to give them my ID so they could write a report about me for their bosses...The REI security people that had been called in by now wanted the same thing.

    Um...no?

    Both Loomis and REI have lawyers. And my guess is that both teams of them are (correctly) telling every one of their employees involved in this incident to have a big slice of superglue pie. You can ask anyone for their ID, but only the police can make the request a requirement, and only in certain instances.

    Would having the ID make life easier for the Loomis and REI employees? Sure. But so would having each store patron take off their clothes at the entrance to ensure that they aren't carrying-in weapons and aren't carrying-out shoplifted goods. I don't want to be subjected to either of these unreasonable privacy invasions by stores, so I won't patronize businesses that employ them.

    Don't try to leave. I will tackle you.

    The photographer didn't remove any cash or any other items. Had the Loomis guys tackled him, that would have probably been a threat of assault, followed by assault. Further, the guys are armed, which probably raises the penalty for both charges a few notches.

  • by s0litaire (1205168) * on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @09:06PM (#27931505)
    We'd have had to put up with police like that for years!!!

    If this was in the UK then the OP would still be locked up and his camera confiscated (lost).

    Anyone with a camera is a suspected terrorist on recon.. :D

    Also in the UK If a police officer asks your name for any reason (even if you are walking down a road and done NOTHING illegal) and you refuse, you get arrested / finger printed / DNA taken (which is held on a Database for upto 10 years even if no charges are made!!) and stuck in the cells till they can prove your identity... they might through in a Section 5 offense for pissing them off...

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