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8,000 mobile phones stolen in first half of 2012

Gardaí have released figures on mobile phone theft as they prepare a new drive encouraging people to be wary of theft.

Most mobile phones are stolen from their owner's hand while being used on the street.
Most mobile phones are stolen from their owner's hand while being used on the street.
Image: DmitriMaruta via Shutterstock

GARDAÍ HAVE REVEALED that almost 8,000 mobile phones were reported stolen in Ireland in the first half of 2012.

The figures were released as Garda authorities prepare a new drive encouraging people to be wary of the theft of phones – and to keep their phone’s serial number so that handsets can be blocked immediately.

Dublin City’s Joint Policing Committee is to publish an information leaflet on smartphone theft next Tuesday.

Councillor Gerry Breen, a former Lord Mayor of the city, said most smartphone thefts happened in broad daylight when the device was grabbed from the hand of its owner.

Chief Superintendent Michael O’Sullivan of Pearse Street station said in the vast majority of cases, people reporting the theft of a mobile phone did not have the device’s IMEI, or serial number.

Possession of the IMEI means the theft of a phone is virtually useless, as the phone can be permanently blocked by simply reporting the stolen handset’s serial number to the mobile phone network.

This number is then shared between networks so that the handset cannot be used, even if its SIM card is replaced.

“I would like to take this opportunity to highlight and improve awareness around the need for personal safety when using your mobile phone in public, the importance of recording your IMEI number and alerting your service provider to block the handset if lost or stolen,” O’Sullivan said.

A phone’s 15-digit serial number can usually be found inscribed on a label underneath its battery, or by dialling *#06# on the handset.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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