Targeted For A Cell Phone: Towson Theft Part Of Nationwide Epidemic

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — It’s happened again. Another victim in Towson is targeted for her cell phone. It’s part of a nationwide epidemic of smartphone thefts.

Meghan McCorkell has more on why thieves are after your phone.

According to the FCC, one out of three robberies nationwide involve cell phones and thieves are getting more and more violent.

A Towson University student was viciously stabbed multiple times last week and police say the thieves were after his cell phone.

“That the value of a human life is worth a cell phone to them,” said witness Kelly Bates. “It frightens me.”

But surveillance cameras across the country have caught brazen thieves in the act. The grab and go robberies are on the rise.

“It’s like a diamond ring or a wallet; there’s something with some inherent value there,” said Elise Armacost, Baltimore County Police.

The latest incident happened Tuesday afternoon at a 7-Eleven in Towson when three suspects asked to see a woman’s cell phone and then took off with it.

It’s a growing problem across the region. Cell phone thefts have been reported in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County and Montgomery County.

“Everyone seems to have an iPhone in their hand, whether they are texting or listening to music and so it’s really a crime of opportunity and there’s plenty of opportunity out there,” said security expert Rob Weinhold with the Fallston Group.

And with kiosks that accept cell phones for cash, Weinhold says it’s an opportunity for big money.

“They can go ahead and steal a number of these devices during an evening and trade them in for cash, oftentimes reaping thousands of dollars on one evening’s work,” Weinhold said.

Police are warning people to be more vigilant with their devices.

“I keep my cell phone in my pocket and I keep it away from anyone that can see it,” said Towson student Aaron Mazer.

By the end of this month, all cell phones reported stolen will be tracked on a nationwide registry.

Legislation is being introduced in Congress that would make it illegal to tamper with a cell phone’s identification number.

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