Police Warn About Thieves Walking Up to People and Stealing Electronics Right Out of Their Hands

Miami Beach Police warned smartphone users to download apps that can help you locate a phone later if it is stolen. Make sure it is protected with a passcode. Also, don't leave your phone in someone's reach. Don't text and walk. If you see a phone theft

By Christina Hernandez
|  Monday, Aug 19, 2013  |  Updated 11:03 PM EDT
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Miami Beach Police have made eight arrests for a crime called

NBC Miami

Miami Beach Police have made eight arrests for a crime called "apple picking." Miami Beach Police spokesperson Vivian Hernandez discussed the issue.

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Walking to their car, three men armed with three guns robbed two tourists on Collins Avenue. One of them had an iPod taken.

On the same day, also robbed at gunpoint, a couple was getting out of a cab on Washington Avenue lost their smartphones, cash, and credit cards.

Miami Beach Police spokesperson Vivian Hernandez said this kind of crime has a name.

"It's called apple picking where the subjects will look when people are talking on their iPhone or not paying attention, in this case with a firearm, and will take the phone right out of their hand and take off," Hernandez said.

Police have made eight arrests – all men, ranging from 18 years old to 21. All men are charged with at least one count of armed robbery. And two of them are facing two counts of armed robbery.

But that's not all. These guys are accused of more.

Sitting at a bus stop on Collins Avenue, a woman was robbed of her phone, earrings, and $800 cash at gunpoint. Police said in this case, three men surrounded her and said, "I'm going to kill you. Don't move." and "If you move, you will die quicker."

Most recently, Friday night, one victim was outside a club waiting for a friend when he noticed two people watching him. Then, a third person ran at him, pointed a gun, and demanded his phone.

"It's something that's becoming an issue nationwide and iPhones and smart phones are very popular, so once you have one – you can be a victim, so you need to be aware of your surroundings," Hernandez said.

Miami Beach Police warned smart phone users to download apps that can help you locate a phone later if it is stolen. Make sure it is protected with a passcode. Also, don't leave your phone in someone's reach. Don't text and walk. If you see a phone theft in progress, call 911.

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