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Thieves targeting smartphones

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Posted: Dec 9, 2011 6:10 PM by Michael Shingleton
Updated: Dec 9, 2011 6:10 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: cell, phone, theft

BATON ROUGE - Since Thanksgiving the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office has investigated at least four instances where a smart phone was swiped.

Three happened on December 2nd at both malls in Baton Rouge. Victims gave the same description of the getaway car.

In another separate incident the sheriff's office arrested 19-year-old Tyrell Swanson. Investigators say Swanson forcefully snatched a victim's phone from his hand. Swanson is charged with simple robbery.

Southern University Police are also investigation five cases of their own, and an LSU student says he was robbed in broad daylight on State Street while he was walking to class.

"I pulled out my phone walking down state street. I had my headphones on and was a little bit oblivious, but next thing I know my hand gets hit and phone knocked out of my hand, guy grabs it, and it kinda took me a second or two to figure out what was going on, but next thing I know he's getting in his car and driving away," Chris Abshire said.

Investigators say criminals are stealing the phones and trying to resell them to pawn shops and other cell phone stores.

At MyPhone MD on Perkins Road, technicians turn down customers trying to sell phones often.

"We have them fill out an information sheet where they have to put their license number down, and we'll make a copy of their license. Then if someone comes in here inquiring about a stolen phone, we can look through our records and let them know," Brent Gangolf said.

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