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Police Investigate Rash Of Cell Phone Robberies

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Ileto Christie 370x278 (2) Christie Ileto
Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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SEVERN, Md. (WJZ) — There’s growing concern after several kids were robbed of their cell phones. The bold thefts are just the latest in what’s become a disturbing trend.

Christie Ileto spoke with a victim.

Jalen Anderson says he was beaten for his cell phone in broad daylight on what residents call a quiet neighborhood street in Severn.

“They hit me in my eye, back and face,” said Anderson.

Anderson says he and his twin brother were walking to a friend’s house with their phones tucked away.

“I didn’t have time to think anything. I didn’t know what they had, but I didn’t have a choice but to give them my phone. There were six of them,” Anderson said.

“This is troubling and concerning for us,” said Lt. T.J. Smith, Anne Arundel County Police.

Police say Anderson is one of three victims targeted for their cell phones over the weekend. A 17-year-old was beaten up for his cell and the youngest victim was a 9-year-old walking down the street.

“This is an unusual spike this weekend to see three separate incidents where several juveniles were victims of robberies targeting their cell phones,” said Smith.

This brazen crime plagues city streets across the country, recently prompting wireless providers to install kill switches in cell phones, making them virtually inoperable.

“Where it makes it useless to steal,” said Senator Barbara Mikulski.

The FCC says one in three robberies is a cell phone theft and residents in Severn can’t believe this latest rash happened steps from their front doors.

“You can’t keep them locked up at home but you can’t go anywhere in the daytime without kids jumping on your kids,” said Angela Anderson.

The Andersons deactivated the stolen cell as police hunt for the brazen attackers.

Police have stepped up patrols in the areas where the robberies happened. Anyone with information is asked to call 866-7-LOCKUP.

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