Police try to stop theft of cell phones called 'Apple picking'

There's a new safety alert to warn you about.

Police are trying new ways to crack down on a modern crime spree known as "Apple picking."

That's when thieves snatch your smart phone and take off before you even realize what's happened.

Police in several big U.S. cities are now focusing not on the crooks but on the buyers of stolen phones.

"Trying to cut the head off the snake so there's no market to sell the phone," Capt. Joe Garrity with the San Francisco Police Department said.

Teams of undercover officers are now posing as sellers of stolen iPhones and busting the buyers.

The undercover crackdown is not without critics, though.

Some question whether it's a form of entrapment.

Supporters point out that an estimated $7 million worth of phones are lost or stolen every day in the country and something needs to be done.

The top three places where smart phones are being stolen are coffee shops, the office and bars, according to mobile security firm Lookout.

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