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      Police issue advisory over spike in cell phone theft in Syracuse

      C ell phones and I-phones have become a huge part of our way of life in this information age,so it stands to reason that criminals would find a way to profit from them. Across the nation cell phone theft is on the rise. Police say criminals are targeting the devises in burglaries, robberies and violent assaults.

      Th e problem is so bad , S yracuse Police have issued a public advisory with some valuable tips. If your phone has gps tracking capability, make sure it's enabled so police can find it if its stolen. Make sure your phone is password protected. Record the phone's serial number and keep it in a safe location. But perhaps the best advise is to be aware of your surroundings. Police say there are several incidents in Syracuse in which people were violently attacked just for their cell phone. "Be aware. If someone is asking for your phone... you've really got to protect yourself." Sergeant Tom Connellan advises.

      Connellan says the police are also calling upon stores which sell used phones to make sure they're not stolen when someone tries to sell it or have it re-activated. "They're able to steal these phones and still sell them for over $100 and make money on it...there's a black market for these phones."

      A t northside wireless on North Salina Street, Ibrahim Ibrahim says people have tried numerous times to activate or sell him a stolen cell phone. He says he always checks the MEID number which is imprinted inside the phone. Ibrahim can enter that number into a national data base and find out instantly whether the phone is missing or stolen. "Just the other day a customer came in here and actually wanted to activate a phone . I went to check ... he said what are you doing. I said I'm checking the MEID unit and he snatched it and said I'm all set and he walked out...so that showed me right there that phone had been stolen."

      S yracuse Police have reports of strong arm robberies involving cell phones. Sergeant Connellan says if it should happen to you is to just give it up and if it has a gps locator on it that phone will turn up and perhaps they'll catch the criminal too.