SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Cellphone theft in San Francisco continues to grow, and thieves are trying bolder tactics to nab the gadgets, according to the San Francisco Police Department.

Chief Greg Suhr said two out of every three robberies that occur in San Francisco involve a cellphone. For the first time he can remember, Suhr said his department is arresting more people for robbery than narcotics.

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He said robbers are starting to work together and are finding different ways to target their victims. “There’s the straight-up cellphone theft, the snatch-and-grab if you will. But then there’s other strategies,” Suhr told KCBS. “Some of them even involve returning the phone.”

According to Suhr, in those cases, someone working with the robber will return the stolen phone and ask the relieved victim for cash.

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There are also cases where theft teams have physically blocked victims from chasing the perpetrator.

When it comes to arresting thieves, Suhr said, “We’re getting better at catching them too. These phones do have GPS.”

“But there’s no substitute for people guarding their phones or the cellphone companies making these things bricks and wiping them as soon as they get stolen, but that’s a work in progress,” Suhr said.

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