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Cellphone Thefts Persist on Upper West Side, NYPD Official Says

By Emily Frost | March 26, 2013 3:45pm | Updated on March 26, 2013 5:29pm

UPPER WEST SIDE — Cellphone thefts have accounted for most of the crimes in the Upper West Side's 20th Police Precinct, a high-ranking police official said.

"[Cellphone thefts] are the majority of our crimes," said Deputy Inspector Brian McGinn. "Watch your property."

The precinct polices West 59th to West 86th streets from Central Park to the Hudson

"Cellphone thefts are still among the highest crimes in the city and the neighborhood," said the precinct's Council President Ian Alterman. 

In a 28-day period, spanning February and March, grand larcenies, of which cellphone thefts are included, accounted for most the crimes reported, according to NYPD statistics. Grand larcenies were up 15.7 percent from the same time last year, though it was unclear how many of those crimes were cellphone thefts.

McGinn said there were two cellphone thefts at restaurants near Lincoln Center. 

Beyond the precinct, cellphone robberies have spiked across the city, too. On Monday, a mugger punched a victim and ran off with his cellphone inside the Times Square subway station. 

And in December, two students' iPhones were stolen outside the Joan of Arc School Complex on West 93rd Street, the West Side Rag reported. The thefts happened in broad daylight and may have been the work of a gang, parents and school staff told the West Side Rag.

McGinn advised people to watch their purses and bags when standing or sitting near a subway door because muggers can grab your property and run off as the doors to the train are closing. He also suggested downloading the app findmyiphone and registering devices' serial numbers with the police. 

"[Findmyiphone] actually worked a couple of weeks ago in District 1," McGinn said.