Police Warn Of Cell Phone Thefts In Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a crime wave happening around the country and it’s hitting the Twin Cities hard.

Thieves are stealing smart phones — sometimes right out of the hands of the owners while they are on the phone.

Minneapolis Police are urging smart phone owners to take precautions. They say there were more than two dozen cases in a small area of downtown Minneapolis in one month.

Many people get wrapped up in their cell phone conversations as they walk down the street.

And that is often when smart phone thieves are pouncing.

“If you are just walking down the street and your little world is your cell phone and you are not paying attention to who is around you, your phone is easily going to be taken away from you,” Minneapolis Police Sgt. William Palmer said.

Last December, Wilson Olsrud and his friend were walking through a downtown Minneapolis parking lot when they were attacked. Their cell phone and wallet were stolen.

“To be attacked like this and violated against, it was very scary,” Olsrud said.

Police and cell phone providers are urging consumers to take precautions.

First, make sure your smartphone has a lock or passcode set on it. It won’t keep your phone from being stolen but it will protect personal information.

On smartphones, you can download apps called “Find My iPhone,” which can track where a phone is. And make sure you or your provider have a record of your phone’s serial number.

Sgt. Palmer said having the serial number could help you get your phone back.

“It’s entered into the NCIC, National Criminal Information Center’s, computer system and if it’s found it can be returned to the rightful owner,” Palmer said.

Sgt. Palmer said awareness is key.

A lot of phones are being stolen when people put them down in a bar or a coffee shop. And then there is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Thieves are going up to unsuspecting victims with the line that their own cell phone is out of batteries, asking if they could borrow one to make a call. Then they run off with them.

More from Esme Murphy
  • http://firstmobilealert.com/police-warn-of-cell-phone-thefts-in-downtown-minneapolis-cbs-local.html Police Warn Of Cell Phone Thefts In Downtown Minneapolis – CBS Local

    […] CBS Local […]

  • Bobby

    I have a legal right to carry a gun and I do, not worried.

    • Jay

      So you plan on shooting someone in the back after they swipe your phone out of your hand and run? Good luck with that… I’m all for concealed carry and gun rights but you are an idiot.

      • texican

        You violate my rights, I violate yours… forever.

      • WilliamPenn

        A commenter simply says he has a legal right to carry and you concoct this entire scenario where a phone gets swiped from him, the perpetrator runs, and the commenter shoots him in the back of the head. What an active fantasy life you have! I can’t wait for Chapter Two.

      • jnsesq

        Well said. Any theories as to the statistical breakdown of the, er, “ethnicity” of the perps? Or would obvious truth make one racist for daring to consider it? Do tell me, liberals.

        • A G Kay

          My sentiments exactly. Couldn’t have said it better myself. This goes on in every urban center of America and people pretend this ominous problem doesn’t exist. End welfare except for the very elderly who need it and the truly disabled.

        • Chris

          Couldn’t agree with you more about the poor parenting, but all of our origins began on the Dark Continent. Since you are trying to describe the color of their skin you would be more correct to say their recent relatives were from areas that received excessive UV radiation.


          Welcome to our http://www.NewNation.org

          • blackie

            we need more black on white crime like they use to do us

            • realityhurts

              Looks like God is going to have to reserve a special place in hell for you. That’s the place where He plants the sub-humans. Hope your IQ is high enough so you will know you are burning.

        • dow daytrader

          kudos jnsesq! a fine post…if the justice system would not recycle criminals but treat them similar to the penalities in Saudi Arabia, problems would be much fewer!

      • Don Shelby

        yep, start blowing away these gang members and you’ll make the others think twice about robbing people.

      • Keith

        Shoot in the leg first, then in the front when they turn to grab leg.

      • Matt

        Jay – you can’t really be for concealed carry and gun rights or you wouldn’t take liberty to twist the comment as you did to tow the ole’ liberal line that law abiding citizens with guns are wreckless. You just threw that comment in to try to hide who you really are, a liberal. You’re not fooling anyone.

    • Darwin

      That’s great, Bobby. Shoot a lowly phone thief in the back, get arrested for murder, and further endanger the right to bear arms for RESPONSIBLE gun-owners like me.

      • CommonCents

        Darwin, are you serious? Because your name implies “survival of the fittest”. ?

        Our ‘right to bear arms’ has been imperiled by a failure to employ it and defend it.

        The entire agenda is to disarm ‘law-abiding’ citizens via your argument.

        Obama & Holder have signaled it is ‘open season’ on whitey.

        Open your eyes… it’s time to open fire on the simians.

  • @Fer Real

    @ Fer Real > you seem obseessed with pedophilia…thats an odd obsession..Care to explain?

  • Bill

    I hope the thieves are targeting those loud-mouth rude s.o.b’s that insist on annoying everyone around them with their mindless cell-phone blather.

  • DougT

    So rather than actually doing something about this – The police are blaming people for walking around downtown minding their business and talking on a cell phone .

    Interesting logic

    Shouldn’t the people be upset with the police for not doing their job ?

    Minneapolis soooo wants to be the New Detroit ……..

    • bubba

      That was the first thing that came to mind—-— “walking around in your little cell phone world” really?REALLY?? Do yer elfin job you worhless POS!!!! Clean the streets, or move the eff on and leave the job to someone with a little testosterone!! Freakin smacker!,

    • come on

      DougT – What would you have them do? Follow everyone that is captivated by their cell phone? I mean come on, look around these days. People look like a bunch of robots that can’t be disconnected for a 10 minute walk. Maybe it’s the idiots who can’t put their phones away and pay attention to what’s going on around them that are the problem, no?

      • MonarchPass

        Or maybe it’s the thief who stole the phone, No?

    • glenp

      people shouldn’t have money or wealth, that is UNFAIR to the “less FORRRTUNATE” and it forces them to steal from you.

      • come on

        LOL because I’m hoping that’s sarcasm…

  • Wei Qi

    Strange how this is not mentioned in the written report but is shown in the video that two black males with a gun approached the victim and demanded his wallet and cell phone. So, is the point of the news story to learn how to protect your cell phone and retrieve it or to be on the lookout for black males (I beleive the media calls them ‘teens’) with guns?

    • blackie

      we feel the same way about you people

      • Alex Picciuolo

        No you don’t…you look at whites and asians as weak targets to rob, beat or kill.

      • Lurker

        blackie – “we feel the same way about you people”

        Do you? Do you really?

        I guess thats why black people are always moving *away* from white people, their towns, cities whole countries even.

  • lola

    Every time crime gets worse, the public is told to buy an alarm for their home or be aware of your surroundings. We’ve completely given up on expectations of behavior and manners as it just to much to ask from these animals that are double dipping for our tax money, robbing their neighborhood stores and stealing people’s personal property in broad daylight. What do you expect from people who are taught class envy and that people are getting rich on their backs. They are just practicing their own street version of collectivism.

  • Madge Prince

    Since many of these chaotic stories originate in this part of the country, fair to suspect there is a demographic upheaval which is paralyzing police and politicians through fear of racism. Ya got 2 choice, treat it like Detroit and just give the city to the criminals, DMZ the perimeter and then blame everyone else or go police-state like NYC.

    • Baldy Kirby from Atlanta

      Personally, I prefer carpetbombing and napalm to urban renewal….

  • Nelson Lovejoy

    i am going to visit Minn very soon to visit…are these thieves usually black or white?? i can probably guess but need to know so i can be on guard when i am around certain people…i have a concealed legal weapon…hate for them to give up so much for so little!! dont do it i say, especially to me….so you dont know who me is, you might want to be especially careful. i wont hesitate to stop you and will gladly surrender the phone back to me, and i mean gladly. i will not make it too easy on you at all. you will remember it the rest of your life!!!.

  • Tim Malone

    Why no description of the perps who are usually doing this?

    • ChicagoDan

      About 15 or so years ago, when I lived in the Ciites, it became policy NOT to include race of criminals or suspects in media reports for fear of stereotyping! It’s all PC rather than protecting citizens. If a suspect is on the loose, how are citizens supposed to help police capture them if they don’t know something as basic as race? (This includes ALL races, not just minorities.) It’s truly a sad state of affairs.

    • stressed

      It’s simple. Back in the 60s and 70s, they would write a description of the criminal. Black folks screamed that that was raysis! They didn’t like the fact that a huge number of violent criminals were ummm, non white!

      Welcome to the world that white liberals have made for you!

    • johnny99

      Because the job of statemedia is to AVOID reporting the facts. Haven’t you noticed?

  • dave

    if you arent aware that there are predators willing to compromise your quality of life because you are just “minding your own business”…..then you are woefully inadequate to be considered a human being…..you should be considered prey.


  • Robert Ziegler

    Fight back, Sheeple, fight back. The Police are there to catch the bad guy AFTER it happens. You are there to stop the bad guy WHEN it happens.

    • Brett

      I’d rather be tried by twelve than carried by six.

  • WilliamPenn

    Come and grab mine, lowlifes! You’ll get a .45 slug in your head.

  • johnny99

    Sick liberals have taught these kids that they are entitled to get something for nothing. So these crimes are just a logical extension of that. In the welfare state, the gov’t takes your money and gives it to them. All these street thugs have done is cut out the middleman.

  • DrinkHisKoolAidSucka

    The same type of people that foolishly voted for Da Hope & Change are now the victims of his welfare minions – priceless…

  • Just saying.

    Get the Red Alert app and it will wipe your phone clean just by activating the icon. At least they won’t get your personal information.

  • Earl P. Holt III

    Nice of the CBS affiliate not to give any description of the perpetrators, allowing us to know their races with metaphysical certainty…

  • longarm11

    Hey jay ,ya I would shoot them . Being a thief is being a thief ,protecting one’s self is not the crime, getting mugged by trash who thinks someone owes them their hard earned money and property is the crime. Just because YOU don’t like them talking on a cell phone while they walk around does not give you or them the right to pass judgment on a activity that hurts no one but your delicate senses .
    You are obliviously one of the 1 percent that wants redistribution of wealth because your welfare has run out white ,black or purple .
    And williampenn a .45 is a powerful gun but upgrade to a .44 no use being half way about it and less chance of a civil suit.

  • Feste

    “If you are just walking down the street and your little world is your cell phone and you are not paying attention to who is around you, your phone is easily going to be taken away from you,” Minneapolis Police Sgt. William Palmer said.

    What a contemptuous, condescending little man is Sgt Palmer. Blame the victim and snear at them for being engrossed in their normal, little everyday lives – minding their own business.

    Right, it is the victim’s fault for being an easy victim.

    Ever try getting the police involved in tracking down a stolen phone? Ha. They have more important matters to attend to than investigating computer or phone theft. Afterall, they think it is the victims fault for “being focused on their little lives, in their little worlds”. No wonder people are starting to feel greater and greater contempt for police – after all, they have contempt for us.

  • THEsb238

    how bout have a pair of balls and a head on a swivel. I walk the city all the day and the night, have been accosted by people of all ethnicity and walked free by my fists and my feet.

  • Mr.Johannesburg

    Forced integration has been a reign of terror we have lived through. History’s default position on blacks is on the other side of the tracks. Check back in 15 years and that is where they will be. Many folks are learning there was separation of races for safety sake.

  • Bob Stevenson

    Article should be titled; “Police warn of rampent Cell Phone Wealth Redistribution Program in Minneapolis.”

  • http://bclaym.wordpress.com Brandon

    What just about everyone said….

  • George Johnson

    The answer is concealed carry and being alloed to shoot them (in the back if need be) and kill them.
    It’s time to take back the streets and make thugs scared to try this sort of thing. They have no worries, no penalty, that’s the problem.
    (something else you can blame on liberalism,)

    • Vince

      Right. And if you tried to shoot them then YOU would go to jail, not them. Aren’t our politicans and judges wonderful?

    • CAC

      You Republicans are a bunch of tough talk, when it comes down to it, you are the first to run and hide behind your mommy. Shoot someone in the back for stealing your cell-phone? What a cowardly move, perfect for Republican trash like most of you posting on here. Cowardly racists, the same people who fumble all over themselves talking to black people being overly nice, like you’ve done something wrong. Tragic, but hilarious to watch.

  • Jimbo

    Question from Macon Georgia- how’s that diversity thing working out for ya’?

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