Spike in cell phone thefts from New Jersey to Manhattan

From New Jersey to Manhattan, cell phone thefts are happening all across our area.

On Friday, the Hoboken Police Department warned residents that cell phone thefts are rising.

"I was recently in Europe, and my friend got her phone stolen there too, but I never heard it here and felt like we're safe," a woman said.

Officials say investigators have received over two dozen reports of so-called "apple picking," or cell phone thefts and pickpocketing in Hoboken this year.

Most of the thefts have taken place in bars and restaurants. 

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"To our knowledge right now, they are most likely bringing them to a central location, and the phones are either being sent elsewhere or sold," Det. Sgt. William Collins said.

FILE - Two people use cell phones on February 1, 2024.

In New York, at least four times recently, thieves on mopeds have snatched phones right out of people's hands. 

In other incidents, victims were riding the subway. 

There are Reddit threads and TikTok dedicated to stolen phones.

"Your whole life especially now is in our phone, so I mean we just want a safeguard," Collins said.

The Hoboken Police Department recommends the following:

  1. Never leave your cell phone unattended
  2. If you keep your cell phone in a pocket, make sure it's in the front and not the back
  3. Always keep purses in front of your body, even when sitting
  4. Don't keep cash, credit cards, or personal identification in your cell phone case

Experts add that the best way to protect yourself is to enable the iPhone's new stolen device protection tool and back up your data to the cloud. 

Hoboken police said to file a report immediately if your phone gets stolen.