Cellphones are proving easy cache for quick-thinking thieves targeting careless owners.
Incidents of cellphone theft are rising prompting police to issue an alert to Aucklanders to take more care and have less trust when placing their cellphones down in public places.
The sophisticated technology of modern cellphones and their value makes them attractive to opportunist offenders.
Inspector Gary Hill, Waitemata District crime prevention manager, says the most common cause of loss is where victims forget that they have left their cellphone in a public place. In three incidents over the weekend, victims left cellphones on the counter or table at cafes or restaurants.
"On one occasion a male victim left his cellphone on the cafe counter while he was selecting a table," says Inspector Hill. "Within minutes the victim realised his oversight but it was too late."
In another case in Glen Mall two teenagers snatched an i-Phone from a 13-year-old boy.
Police say there are proactive measures people can take to reduce the likelihood of such thefts.
"These incidents are a timely reminder to keep items such as cellphones hidden from view... Always be mindful of those who are in close proximity and ensure the cell phone is locked to prevent others being able to use it."
Parents are advised to educate their children on how to take security measures related to use of their cellphone and to their personal safety. Many children with new cellphones show them off, and this isn't always the smartest behaviour.
"If anyone has experienced the loss of their cellphone as a result of theft, robbery or burglary, call police without hesitation," Inspector Hill says.
Have you had your phone stolen recently? Let us know in the comment box below or email firstname.lastname@example.org