I recently lost my cell phone and then saw a Craigslist posting of a cell phone that looked similar to my cell phone with the exact same model and storage capacity and color, but its screen was smashed. The location seems to be local. The poster posted on the day after I lost my cell phone. He/she said on the posting that it was bought and then dropped, thereby causing the smashed screen.
I am extremely wary about calling the police. Part of the worry comes from the fact that I shared a personal email address with the stranger. The email address does not contain any real names, but I am concerned that something may be used to track down a person's location or identity, and if that happens, I may be in danger of a vengeful attack. Part of the worry also comes from whether the police would keep whoever calls the police secret.
Anyway, I am not entirely sure how the American law system works in response to suspected theft. What does or can the police do legally? Can the suspected thief see the identity of the one who alerts the police?