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Uptick in smart phone thefts, warns Coquitlam RCMP

An increase in smart phone thefts has prompted the Coquitlam RCMP to warn the public to be more vigilant with their personal belongings. - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
An increase in smart phone thefts has prompted the Coquitlam RCMP to warn the public to be more vigilant with their personal belongings.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

An increase in smart phone thefts has prompted the Coquitlam RCMP to warn the public to be more vigilant when using their devices.

Since the beginning of the year there have been 21 reported cases of smart phone robberies and police said the items have a high resale value.

"Even if you report the theft to your carrier and they can cancel service, a criminal can still swap the SIM card and either use the phone or sell it to someone who can," said Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung. "It is important for people to understand that thefts like this are tough for police to investigate and hard to prosecute so we're asking owners to get smart about keeping themselves and their devices safe."

Chung added that a smart phone's International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and serial number should be recorded so that if it is stolen police will have a way of identifying the device if it is recovered.

Some service providers also give clients the option to remotely disable or track the phone if it is stolen.

To prevent theft, police also offer several tips:

• Travel in groups whenever possible;

• Be aware of your surroundings when you're using your phone;

• If a stranger is making you feel uneasy, go into a store or coffee shop;

• Risk should be assessed and phones should be put away when you are in a sport where a thief could approach without notice.

In the event of a robbery people are asked to stay calm and comply with the thief's demands.

People are also asked to pay attention to details and take notice of any distinguishing characteristics about the thief, like tattoos, hair style or clothing.

As soon as it is safe call 911.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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