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Thieves Targeting Personal Electronics

A report from this month's 77th Precinct Community Council Meeting

The widespread popularity of iPhones, iPads, Blackberrys, and laptops is leading to a citywide "crime wave", says Deputy Inspector Elvio Capocci of the 77th Precinct.

Speaking at last night's 77th Precinct Community Council Meeting, he noted that property thefts are driving crime numbers up throughout the city. He emphasized awareness and prevention as the best tools against petty criminals. 

"Don't leave property on your fire escape, don't leave valuables on the dashboard of your car, and keep your car locked," he said. "I can't believe this stuff still happens, but all of those [mistakes] happened in the past week."

Cell phones and electronic devices have been around for decades, but it seems that recently people have been spending more and more money on expensive portable devices that make prime targets for theives.

"A lot of these kids look at it as a victimless crime," Capocci said. "They don't realize how serious robbery is. They just grab [iPhones] and computers and they are out the door. They probably sell them for $50 or $60."

He also encouraged citizens to register their electronics, which greatly increases the chances that a stolen item can be returned to its owner.

In addition to creating temptations for troubled teens, unattended electronics lead to more work for police officers like this month's 77th Precinct "Cop of the Month" Joshua Winters.

Winters recently responded to a call of a home burglary in which two teens had climbed up a fire escape and through an open window before fleeing with a computer. Upon canvassing the immediate area Winters located the teens, arrested them, and returned the property.

His quick work earned him a bronze plaque and the commendation of his commanding officer.

"I just want to thank everyone for the award," Winters said upon receiving the award. "It means a lot but I couldn't have done it without someone calling 911."

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