Protect your phone from theft, loss - FOX 13 News

Protect your phone from theft, loss

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

In New York, a group of good Samaritans chased down a smartphone thief, they say snatched a woman's phone in broad daylight. While some are caught on the street, others are caught on tape.

In California, a group of thieves rammed their BMW into an Apple Store and grabbed as many iPhones as they could.

Police say smartphone thefts are on the rise and the Federal Communication Commission says 30 to 40 percent of robberies in major cities involve smartphones.

St. Petersburg Police Department spokesperson Mike Puetz says, on average, two cell phones are stolen a week. That's just St. Petersburg, but it happens everywhere, and detectives say their usual suspects pick usual spots to swipe your phone.

"The vast majority of them are at bars and restaurants. These are locations where people keep their cell phones out," Puetz said.

Aside from losing your pricey smartphone, the sensitive information you store on your phone can be even more valuable to a thief.

There are ways to protect smartphones with anti-theft apps that are free. FOX 13 Social Media Producer Kerry Klecic says apps like "Find My Phone," and Android's "Lost" are popular.

"Right away, when you know your phone is stolen, go in and make sure you can wipe away that information," Klecic said.

An app called "I caught you"  will take a picture of the thief, along with their location, and email it to you.

Recently, Jewel Senior misplaced her iPhone, but thanks to her kids who installed a GPS app, she got it back.

"It was at the church. I had left it at the church in the morning, and I went and picked it up," Senior said.

A happy ending to what could have been an expensive loss.

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