Sacto 9-1-1
June 13, 2013
Sacramento police say avoid 'Apple picking' by being a smart cell phone user

DeAngelo Trujillo, 18.JPGCell phones taken in Sacramento and Roseville have been recovered this week because tracking features enabled the owners to zero in on the stolen items.

However, not all cell phone thefts result in a return of the devices to their owners. Authorities say avoiding being a victim can be as easy as keeping cell phones in pockets or purses on the street.

Also, when speaking on a phone in a public place, don't be so distracted by telephone conversation or web searches that you don't see potential thieves.

"Be aware - don't be an easy target by being distracted on the device," said Sacramento police spokeswoman Officer Michele Gigante.

Gigante recommends enabling the GPS capabilities before the phone is lost or stolen, which will assist the police is tracking the device and ultimately catching the criminal. Above all, don't resist a thief so much that it puts you in danger.

"Remember it is just a phone and can be replaced, it is not worth your safety or being injured over it," Gigante said.

Sacramento police report that Tuesday night two women were robbed at gunpoint at 15th and S streets. Their purses, containing at least one phone, were taken.

Investigating officers were able to use a "find my phone" app to home in on the suspected robbers, according to a police activity log. Four teens were identified by the victims as the robbers.

The teens, who were arrested, were in possession of the stolen property and a loaded gun.

On Monday afternoon in Roseville, cell phones stolen at awater park were recovered. Police said a woman and three girls put their iPhones and wallet in a locker at Sunsplash, a waterslide park along Roseville Parkway. The locker key was accidentally left behind.

When the group returned to the locker, the property was gone. "One of the victims was able to track the GPS on her phone to a car in the parking lot," stated a Roseville police crime reporting newsletter.

Officers recovered the stolen property and arrested a 16-year-old girl from Stockton on suspicion of grand theft.

In still another case involving cell phone theft, Sacramento police on Tuesday were able to arrest a man thanks to a witness. A man was walking near Del Paso Road and Gateway Park Boulevard about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday when a robber pushed him down from behind.

The robber then took his cell phone and fled. Officers arrived and contacted "a vital witness."

That witness led them to Deangelo Trujillo, 18, (pictured above) who was arrested on suspicion of robbery.

The Federal Communications Commission notes that there is a growing epidemic of robberies involving smartphones. According to the FCC:

• More than 40% of all robberies in New York City involve smartphones and other cell phones.

• Other major cities have similar statistics, with robberies involving cell phones comprising 30-40% of all robberies.

Law enforcement officials from San Francisco and New York plan to meet with U.S. smartphone makers to help stem the rampant rise in cellphone thefts and robberies -- sometime referred to as "Apple-picking." One proposal calls for phone makers to create new technology to permanently disable stolen smartphones, making them worthless to thieves.

Related story:

SF, NY prosecutors push for anti-phone theft moves

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