Crooks collect calls — and phones 


At least 14 thefts were reported in The City on Monday, the majority of which involved crooks going to extreme lengths to steal cellphones, police said.

In one incident, two men broke into a 62-year-old man’s apartment and fled with only a cellphone. Other thefts involved a crook knocking a man unconscious in the 500 block of Market Street before taking his cellphone, and a robber holding up a bicyclist at gunpoint to snatch his mobile phone, police said.

Police have noticed a trend in how cellphone robberies are executed. Thieves ask what time it is or ask to borrow a person’s phone so the victim has to take it out, police Officer Albie Esparza said.

“Criminals are opportunistic, so when they see someone not aware of their surroundings they’ll take advantage of it,” Esparza said.

Although Esparza called the number of thefts Monday “alarming,” police are making more efforts to educate people about cellphone usage.

“Obviously any number of robberies is too many,” he said. “We can’t stop people from using technology, but we want them to use it in a safe way so they don’t become targets.”

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Carolyn Copeland

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