MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota House took action today to slow down a surge in smart phone thefts: requiring new smart phones to include a “kill switch.”

Lawmakers say smart phone thefts make up 40 percent of the robberies in Minneapolis and St Paul, and 62 percent of robberies at the University of Minnesota.

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The bill requires smart phones sold in Minnesota by July of 2015 to have a “kill switch” function or a free download.

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“If their phone is stolen, they can literally go back and from a remote location or from the provider and turn this thing into a brick,” Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove, said. “It takes all the incentive away from stealing this thing in the first place.”

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Some cell phone companies — but not all of them — have voluntarily agreed to install kill switches beginning next year.