Fresno police warn of increased cell phone snatch thefts

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- No matter where you go, all eyes, and ears seem to be focused on cell phones. Action News approached a young man who was focused on his phone.

ABC30 asked, "So you are walking down the street what are you doing are you listening to music, are you texting, what are you doing with your phone?"

Dewar Lowe replied, "I'm playing my music, and then texting sometimes, doing a lot of stuff on my phone."

ABC30 asked, "So you keep in it your hand all the time?"

"Yeah, most of the time," said Lowe.

But Lt. John Papaleo with the Fresno Police Department says this cell phone life is potentially dangerous.

Papaleo explained, "If they see you walking down the street maybe late night, you are talking on your cell phone or looking at your cell phone it's easy for them to grab that cell phone out of your hand, take off running jump in a car making you a victim."

Fresno police are focusing on where the problem is greatest, the areas north of McKinley and west of Blackstone. They will be out in force especially at night. But they say it's easier not to make yourself a victim in the first place.

Papalao suggests, "Talk on your phone but when you are done put it deep in your pocket, so that people don't see that. Don't walk around completely oblivious to what's going on around you, with your head in the cell phone. Pay attention to what's going on around you."

Most of the targets of these recent thefts have been young men. But the guys we talked to weren't too worried.

"Somebody try to rob me and I'm gonna do something unless they've got a gun or something," said Lowe. "They gonna have to shoot me to take my stuff."

But police say fighting back could lead to bigger problems.

Papalao said, "Is a phone or a necklace worth getting injured over, we don't think so, that's why we are out there, we are trying to flood those areas so those people see law enforcement is out there."

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