Mr. Laser Beam wrote:
They couldn't take the risk that somebody might SEE the communicator disappear in a flash of a transporter effect.
Because sending people armed with phase pistols was a much better plan.
The risk of somebody seeing the communicator disappear into thin air would be much greater than sending crewmembers in, undercover, who might be able to grab the communicator and get away without anyone noticing. The fact that it got more complicated doesn't change the fact that the risk that it would do so was less