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Thefts of cell phones rise rapidly nationwide

October 20, 2012 • Business


In this photo taken Sept. 21, 2012, Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer and co-founder, poses for a portrait at the Lookout Mobile Security headquarters in San Francisco. A woman riding a city bus is punched in the face, then her cell phone is snatched. A man walking near Golden Gate Park is asked for the time, then a gunman demands his phone and wallet. Police say nearly one out of every three robberies in San Francisco this year has involved a cell phone. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In this tech-savvy city teeming with commuters and tourists, the cell phone has become a top target of robbers who use stealth, force and sometimes guns.

Nearly half of all robberies in San Francisco this year are cell phone-related, police say, and most occur on bustling transit lines.

One thief recently snatched a smartphone while sitting right behind his unsuspecting victim and darted out the rear of a bus in mere seconds.

Another robber grabbed an iPhone from an oblivious bus rider — while she was still talking.

And, in nearby Oakland, City Council candidate Dan Kalb was robbed at gunpoint of his iPhone Wednesday after he attended a neighborhood anti-crime meeting.

“I thought he was going to shoot me,” recalled Kalb, who had dropped his phone during the stickup. “He kept saying, ‘Find the phone! Find the phone!’”

These brazen incidents are part of a ubiquitous crime wave striking coast to coast. New York City Police report that more Login to read more

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