Press Contact: Jennifer Coats, Officer/PIO, (510) 981-5780


Berkeley, California (Thursday, December 20, 2012) - Berkeley, California (December 20, 2012) – The Berkeley Police Department (BPD) is currently investigating several reports of cell phone thefts through the use of a ruse.  The suspects are targeting people’s willingness to help others.  The suspects will ask to use a victim’s phone usually claiming the need to contact a sick family member.  Once the suspect has the phone they drive off in a vehicle stealing the phone  

BPD would like to remind and encourage people to employ a few crime prevention measures that can help reduce your risk as well as discourage those who commit these types of crimes.  

  • Don’t lend your phone to anyone you don’t know or take it out of your purse, pocket or bag to give someone the time, if asked.
  • Walk with purpose:  Project an assertive image that conveys you know where you are going.
  • Avoid Isolation:  Avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages, and alleyways; stick to well-lit, high-traffic areas.
  • Keep a safe distance:  Don’t let people get too close, even if they appear to have a reason, such as asking for the time.
  • Don’t talk on cell phones or listen to IPods when alone outside as they significantly limit awareness.
  • Trust your Instincts:  Trusting your own instincts that a situation seems “wrong” can be the best personal safety tool you have.

BPD is encouraging anyone to report suspicious persons or activity.  In Berkeley dial 911 or (510)981-5911 from your cell for emergencies and/or crimes in progress. Dial (510)981-5900 to make a delayed or after the fact report. 



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