GARDAI have issued a public warning to mobile phone and smartphone users to be vigilant following a major spike in the number of mobile devices being stolen.
In the past week alone, gardai across the city have received several reports of phones being snatched from people as they were either making calls or sending text messages.
In one incident last Friday, an iPhone 4S was snatched from a man as he was ringing the emergency services following a car crash.
“The man, who had been involved in a traffic collision, was making a phone call when the phone was snatched out of his hand by a man on a bicycle,” said crime prevention officer, Sgt Brian Broderick.
He added that the incident happened in the Mallow Street area of the city.
The culprit is described as wearing a blue puffy jacket with a Nike sign on the back and a blue cap.
“As this incident took place in broad daylight and followed a traffic collision, it is likely that a number of persons witnessed the theft and may have seen the culprit either before, during or after the incident took place,” he said appealing for anyone with information to come forward.
During another recent incident in the city centre, a Blackberry mobile phone was stolen from a woman as she was walking in the Little Catherine Street area.
“She was approached by a female who had come from the William Street direction. The female asked to borrow the lady’s mobile phone to make a call. She then refused to return the phone to its owner and escaped in the direction of Denmark Street,” said Sgt Broderick, who is urging people to be very careful when using their mobile phones in public.
He is also advising people to keep their phones in a safe place when not using them as they are often stolen from handbags or coat pockets which are left down in pubs or clubs.
“They (mobile phones) are very attractive for thieves especially if they are unlocked,” he said.
While stolen smartphones are commonly sold on the black-market, thieves will frequently try to access and download any personal information which may be stored on them.
Such information often includes home addresses, bank account details and even pin numbers.