Durham police warn of cell-phone thefts

May. 25, 2013 @ 05:00 PM

The Durham Police Department has noticed a recent increase in larcenies of cell phones.

In most cases, the suspect or suspects obtain the phone from the victim under the pretext of borrowing it to make a call.  Once the victim lends the suspect their phone, the suspect flees the scene.

The majority of recent cases have occurred between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and the victims are usually walking along the street when a vehicle approaches and a female occupant of the vehicle asks to borrow the phone. Suspect vehicles in recent thefts have included a black Acura, a silver van and a burgundy or dark red four-door car.
Investigators are trying to identify the female in connection with a phone theft that was reported on May 13 in the 1700 block of Holloway Street. In that incident, a female approached the victim and asked to use her phone because she was having car trouble. The victim lent her the phone and the suspect fled in a black Acura occupied by three other females.
Anyone with information in that case is asked to call Investigator Heim at (919) 560-4281, ext. 29121.
The Durham Police Department offers the following crime prevention tips:

-- Pay attention to your surroundings. Thieves often target people who are talking or texting on their phones
-- Don't leave your phone lying around in a public place - for example, a table in a restaurant
-- If someone asks to borrow your phone to make a call, offer to make the call for them instead of giving them the phone
If your phone is stolen, you may be susceptible to identity theft. Call the police and then call your wireless carrier to have your phone turned off.