Smartphone Crime on the Rise

May 14, 2013 Updated May 14, 2013 at 8:06 AM EDT

By WKBW

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May 14, 2013 Updated May 14, 2013 at 8:06 AM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - Authorities say Smartphones are big money makers in the underground crime network. Crooks are doing whatever it takes to get their hands on them, even if it means resorting to violence.

These phones are hot items because thieves can quickly sell them for hundreds of dollars on the street and online. New York's Attorney General is calling on the companies that manufacture these phones to make them unusable once they are stolen.

In the meantime, several public awareness campaigns have been circulating. The ads are reminding people that when a cell phone is in view, thieves see a wad of cash.

"They're targeting people they perceive to be more vulnerable. Women.
Women with baby carriages, you know, older folks," one safety official said.

Currently, the FCC along with several major cell phone makers are developing software, which would deactivate stolen phones. That software is still months away from being launched.

Until the software is available, authorities are telling people to be cautious when talking on a cell phone in public. There has already been one confirmed death in New York State. A man was shot and killed for his cell phone. Others have been stabbed and beaten.

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