Mobile phones are being taken by opportunist thieves in Doncaster, police say.
South Yorkshire Police says a spike in the number of mobile phone thefts has been seen this year – and this is in part due to people leaving expensive Smartphones unattended.
Superintendent Eddie Murphy said: “Since 1 January we have had 364 phones reported as stolen.
“These mainly relate to pubs and clubs where the owner has put their phone in a bag or jacket and, while getting a drink or going onto the dancefloor, the phone has been stolen.
“What we are also seeing, though, is the opportunist thief who, while in a shop or other premise with a reception desk, are stealing phones which have been left on display.”
Last Thursday, October 17 two men distracted the owner of a shop in Printing Office Street, in Doncaster town centre, and picked up the phone from the cash desk.
The previous week, on Friday, October 11, a staff members at a solicitors’ firm in the town centre left their phone on the reception desk and, after dealing with a customer, discovered that the phone had been taken.
Other such incidents have occurred in shops and offices across the town.
“What is important to state is that the majority of the phones stolen are expensive”, Supt Murphy added.
“In relation to three of the most recent offences, iPhones worth more than £400 each were taken.
“We need people to understand just how attractive these phones are to thieves. They are easy to conceal, so easy to steal.”
South Yorkshire Police is advising people to register their phones online, on websites such as www.immobilise.com.
Police check these websites when suspects have been arrested, and mobile phones have previously been reunited with their owners due to these checks.
Owners of iPhones or similar Smartphones can also download apps which allow the phones to be tracked if stolen or lost.
Anyone with information on mobile phone thefts in South Yorkshire should call the police non-emergency number on 101.