(KMOV) – News 4 is tracking a growing crime trend where robbers are targeting victim’s cell phones.
According to St. Louis County authorities, 37-percent of all armed robberies over the last 12 months involved cell phones but now those robbers are setting their sights on the stores themselves.
St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch said the 3-man armed and organized robbery team from Chicago locked the door, tied up the workers then raided the vault of over seventy smart phones at the South County AT & T store before taking off. A woman was caught moments later but two male suspects got away.
“I will tell you that this is more lucrative than bank robberies, because they’re getting tens of thousands of dollars worth of cell phones during these robberies,” Chief Fitch added.
The high price of smart phones has made them an increasing target of thieves and robbers.
Just a few days ago Dwayne Davis was charged with punching a woman in University City in an attempt to steal her cell phone.
Some phone owners are taking precautions as this trend increases. Cell phone apps can trace stolen cell phones and laws can log vital information on sellers to discourage selling stolen cell phones. Chief Fitch says the solution lies with the cell phone makers.
“Today, there’s technological fixes for automobiles to keep them from being stolen, they could do the same thing, we believe with cell phones.”
Some are suggesting all cell phones install a kill switch on phones. Chief Fitch said in some east coast cities, phone owners refrain from having their phones out while they are walking down a sidewalk so they don’t get stolen.