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Baltimore City Police Increase Patrols Following Spike In Cell Phone Robberies

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Stolen by force! Baltimore City police say cell phones are becoming the item to steal on city streets.

Christie Ileto reports some of the victims have been injured or beaten.

Starting Wednesday, more cops will be patrolling your neighborhood.

“We’re seeing a trend of cell phone robberies,” said Dean Palmere, Neighborhood Patrol Bureau.

Detectives wouldn’t say how many cases they’ve seen but tell WJZ it’s not isolated to one area.

“A lot of the victims in these cases are distracted in one case or another,” said Deputy Commissioner John Skinner. “The suspects are moving in quickly, making the robbery and then fleeing the incident.”

Little Italy, the Hopkins Hospital campus and Roland Park are all part of the crime wave.

“It was four pops and it was like a pellet gun,” said a Roland Park resident who heard Wednesday’s latest attack.

Detectives say the pair of criminals responsible may be connected to a string of area robberies.

And we’re not the only city trending. New York to San Francisco are seeing spikes in cell phone thefts, too.

Police say there are things you can do to make sure you’re not a target, including not walking and talking on your cell, not texting and walking and simply being aware of your surroundings.

“We have put up with enough. It’s very frightening and it’s not to be tolerated,” said City Councilmember Mary Pat Clarke.

Clarke says phone kiosks outside the city may be driving cell phone thefts and is pushing to ban them.

In the meantime, police are ramping up officer presence to stop these violent thieves.

Police are also investigating an assault and robbery in Little Italy that happened early Wednesday morning. Police say they’re following up on leads and expect to make arrests.

If you have information that can help, contact Baltimore City Police.

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