Robbers targeting children with phones here in the Valley

PHOENIX - Police said robbers are targeting children with cell phones across the U.S. and now it's becoming a problem here in the Valley.

It's such a problem nearly half of all robberies in New York and San Francisco this year involved cell phones.

The FBI said cell phone thefts are also on the rise in Los Angels, Cleveland, Detroit., Oakland and Newark, New Jersey.

Now Phoenix Police Public Information Officer James Holmes told ABC15 it's becoming an issue in the Valley.

He said it's a major concern because the robbers are often armed with knives or guns and target kids in parks and school yards.

Last month a Valley teen was shot and killed in a park while trying to protect his little sister from a man trying to steal her phone.

John Grubb with MacMedia of Scottsdale said thieves most often wipe the phones of their data and sell them.

Locally they could be sold for $200, but Grubb said the big money comes from people in other countries.

Grubb said smartphones can go for around $1,200 overseas.

Holmes said you should avoid taking your devices out in public, but if it's necessary be aware of your surroundings.

Grubb recommended you should also put a code lock on your phone.

He said if you have an iPhone, register it under Apple's "Find My Phone ".

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