Public urged to be vigilant after mobile phone thefts
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People are being reminded not to give unfamiliar people access to their mobile phones following a spate of thefts in Nottingham.
Officers are investigating a number of incidents where young people were persuaded to hand over their device to someone offering to give them their number.
But instead the person, often accompanied by acquaintances, runs off with the phone.
In one recent incident, a 19-year-old told officers he was approached by three males in Talbot Street and offered drugs, which he didn’t take. However he was persuaded to hand over his iPhone so they could put their number in his contacts list but the offenders then ran off with the phone.
The victim said the same trio also snatched a phone from his friend during the incident, which happened at around 3am on Sunday (7 January).
Two further thefts and two robberies were also reported on the same morning and detectives are looking to establish where the incidents are linked.
Previous victims have reported being approached during a night out and told about an investment opportunity, such as a cryptocurrency scheme.
The unfamiliar person has then offered to add them to a group on social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Snapchat.
This led to some victims handing over their phone so they could be added to the apparent group, but instead the unfamiliar person has walked off with their device.
When the young person has tried to stop them, the phone thief has been joined by several accomplices who have gone on to threaten the victim with violence.
Detective Inspector Julian Eminson-Ferry, of Nottinghamshire Police, urged people to be vigilant when enjoying Nottingham’s night-time economy.
“Having your phone stolen is a hugely upsetting experience and so we’re reminding people not to hand over their devices to individuals they do not know.
“We’re particularly reminding young adults of this advice as offenders appear to be targeting that age group, including students.
“We don’t want this to happen to anyone else, so we’d urge people to remain vigilant while they’re out and about and follow some simple but effective tips to mitigate the risks of them falling victim to crime.
“We’d also ask people to report any suspicious behaviour to us directly, or door and venue staff to ensure we can act upon it.”
People are encouraged to adhere to the following crime prevention tips:
When possible keep your phone out of sight in public areas.
Try to ensure a password or pin code lock is enabled on your phone.
When you leave a table/area, even for a short time, always take your phone with you. Never leave it unattended.
If a stranger asks to use your phone, don't hand your device over to them. Instead, action any request you’re happy to facilitate yourself (for example, entering a number into your phone or making a phone call on the person’s behalf).
Always stay alert when using your mobile phone and be aware of your surroundings.
If you lose or have your phone stolen, call your network provider and get the phone blocked as soon as possible.
Set up a tracking app on your phone so you can see where it is from another device in the event of it being lost or stolen. The iPhone has find my phone, and for android phones there is android device manager.
You can report a stolen phone by calling 101 or in an emergency call 999. Others ways to contact Nottinghamshire Police can be found on the force website.