The police department has received several recent reports of cell phone thefts in which a suspect asks to use a victim's phone, often claiming they need to call a sick family member. The suspect then takes the phone and flees in a vehicle, according to police.
Police are reminding people that a few crime prevention measures can go a long way to reduce the risk of being victimized.
People are advised not to lend their cell phone to strangers or to take it out of their bag or pocket to give someone the time, if asked. Police also remind people to walk with purpose and to refrain from talking on cell phones or listening to mp3 players when alone outside.
Anyone who spots a cell phone thief or other suspicious activity in progress is asked to call Berkeley police at (510) 981-5911.