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Police: Thieves target cell phones at alarming rate

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DENVER -- According to Denver Police statistics, 22 people have their cell phone stolen every day in the city.

Police say someone approached a woman Friday in downtown Denver and asked to borrow her cell phone to call a friend. The woman agreed, and the thief knocked her to the ground and ran off with her phone.

Police say there has been a 63-percent increase in iPhone thefts since the beginning of the year.

They say thieves reprogram the phones and sell them on the black market.

FOX31 Denver wore a hidden microphone and approached several people in Denver to see if they would let a stranger borrow their phone.

In every case, the person said, “Yes.”  One woman told us, “You were a stranger who came up and approached me and out of being nice, of course, I would let you use my phone.”

But police say the nice response is not the wise one, in this situation.

They say more and more thieves are willing to hurt the person while stealing their phone, and they recommend you never let a stranger borrow your phone.

Cell phone service providers say they're working with the government to put together a database of stolen phones in order to prevent them from being reprogrammed and rendering they useless to thieves.