Thieves stealing more smartphones than ever, police say

Thieves stealing more smartphones than ever, police say »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. -- "Historic."

That's how Portland police describe the number of smartphones reported stolen last year. Nearly 300 in Portland alone.

Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson says part of the reason is because there are so many more phones out there. That's why police put out a warning about the simple ways thieves go after your phone.

They may just walk up and snatch it out of your hand. Or, they may ask to borrow it, and when you hand it over, they run away with it.

We asked people in Pioneer Courthouse Square on Tuesday to let us use their phone; no one actually turned their phone over to us.

Starla Haight was "almost" a victim of that trick.

"It was young girl," she said, "Asked to use my phone and then started to walk away, I had to follow her around the corner to get it back."

Haight says she doesn't let people use her phone anymore, unless she can "see the trust in their eyes" as she put it.

So people may be getting smarter about protecting their smart phones. Still, we found some people setting down their phones, turning their backs for a few seconds, and that's all the time a thief needs to snatch it.

Police say if you're phone is stolen, report it to police and call your provider to disable the phone.

You should also have all your information password protected. And have a phone tracking device or app on your phone that's turned on.