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Kingston Police warning public of recent cellphone thefts downtown

Photo by Mikaela Shannon.

After a rash of cellphone thefts in downtown Kingston, police are advising residents to be vigilant, particularly in busy bars or restaurants.

According to Kingston Police, 10 reports regarding cellphone thefts were filed from Thursday, Sept. 19 to Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. All of those reported thefts occurred in the downtown entertainment district, police said.

“The reports shared similar characteristics with all of the victims having attended local bars in the entertainment district during the evening and early morning hours,” Kingston Police said in a press release on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019.

The cellphones appear to have been stolen from victim’s purses while the victims were actually wearing the purses, Kingston Police said. However, in posts on Overheard at Queen’s, a Facebook page frequented by Queen’s University students, a number of students indicated that their phones were taken from their back pockets – and that sometimes the thief even placed the cellphone cases back in their pockets after stealing the actual phones. According to Kingston Police, once the phones are stolen, they are immediately disabled by the thieves so that phone locater applications cannot be used.

“It is important for members of the community to be vigilant when attending busy local bars and restaurants and to keep valuables and phones close at hand or in closed purses or pockets so as to avoid these forms of pick-pocketing from occurring,” police said. “The thieves target individuals in these environments because there is often physical contact occurring throughout the busy establishments due to the sheer number of patrons in attendance. The thieves exploit this and are able to precipitate thefts that often at first go unnoticed.”

Kingston Police said no suspect information is available at this time, and is asking anyone with information to contact them at 613-549-4660. Tips can also be provided anonymously by calling the Kingston Police general number (613-549-4660 ext. 0) and requesting to remain anonymous.

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