DENVER (CBS4) – New figures out Monday show thieves are stealing iPhones in record numbers.

In some cases all the thief has to do is get a new SIM card and the phone can be reused. That’s why consumers would like cellphone companies to do more.

Samantha Lim was sitting at a restaurant when her iPhone was stolen by a patron.

“(I) literally had only been there for probably 15, 20 minutes before he spotted my phone and checked to see if I wasn’t looking,” Lim said. “It was five inches away from my elbows at the time, and he just took it so fast and walked right out the door.”

In New York City iPhone thefts are driving up crime statistics.

“In crime statistics we’ve gone up almost four percent this year,” New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. “If in fact there were no thefts of Apple products we would have a decrease this year.”

In Denver iPhone thefts are already up 75 percent from last year. In Chicago the story is the same.

“Just about every major city across the country has the same exact crime dynamic,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. “Those gadgets are valuable, as a result they help drive the crime trend.”

The crime often takes place in broad daylight in public places.

Cellphone companies can make money off the stolen phones when the thief or whoever the thief sells the device to reactivates the number.

In New York now there is proposed legislation to have a national registry of stolen phone identity numbers to try and make it so the phones are truly useless once they’re stolen.

“We’ve been asking for this for years, and that is to, in essence, disconnect the phone; make it a useless piece of junk if it’s stolen,” Kelly said.


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