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Local News

Another Strong-Arm Robbery Reported in Isla Vista

The latest in a recent spate of strong-arm robberies in Isla Vista occurred Wednesday, according to the UCSB Police Department.

At about 8:15 a.m., a male suspect approached a woman at Camino Del Sur and Abrego Road and forcibly took her cell phone, said spokeswoman Kelly Hoover of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the incident.

“The victim was wearing ear phones when the suspect confronted her, grabbed her cell phone and fled on foot,” Hoover said.

The suspect was last seen running west on the 6700 block of Abrego.

He was described as a college-aged Hispanic or Asian male, about 5-foot-7, with a stocky build. He had dark, medium length hair parted to the side, and was wearing black sunglasses, a black jacket, black shorts and black shoes.

No injuries were reported.

The forcible cell-phone theft is the most recent in a string of similar cases in Isla Vista this year, Hoover said.

Several of the incidents have occurred in broad daylight in the same general area and have involved female victims, who are walking by themselves and actively using their cell phones.

In one case, the victim, who was also wearing ear phones, received minor injuries when the suspect forced her to the ground to take her cell phone.

Anyone with information about this incident or any other crime is encouraged to contact the UCSB Police Department at 805.893.3446 or Santa Barbara County Sheriff s Tip Line.

Hoover said the Sheriff’s Department wants to remind the public that cell phones are expensive, valuable commodities that can be a prime target for thieves.

Cities across the globe are reporting an increase in the amount of cell phone related crimes they are seeing. In particular, they are finding what is referred to by some as “apple-picking”, where like “purse snatching”, cell phones are literally ripped out of the hands of victims.

The phones are sold for money and/or used for identity theft purposes.

The Sheriff’s Department offered the following tips to avoid cell-phone thefts:

» If you are not using your cell phone, put it in a safe and secure area.

» If you are using your phone, make sure you are aware of your surroundings.

» Write down your phone’s 15 digit serial number so it can be traced back to you in the event it is stolen and recovered.

» If your phone is stolen, make sure you report the theft right away to law enforcement and your wireless carrier.

» Make sure you have a security lock and password for your phone, which will make it more difficult for a thief to use your phone and access your information.

» Never hand your phone over for someone to use and be careful of potential schemes that may be used to distract you and provide an opportunity for a thief to take your phone. For example, someone saying their battery died and asking if they could use your phone or asking you for the time which will require you to retrieve your phone or look down to check.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook..

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