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Metro warns riders about increased iPod, cell thefts

Friday - 2/22/2013, 8:35am  ET

Metro Farragut North (WMATA/Larry Levine)
Metro says passengers need to be alert to who is around them. (WMATA/Larry Levine)

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Typically, one or two people report a stolen electronic device on Metro each day. But Wednesday, seven thefts were reported in more than 12 hours.

Metro says the thefts occurred throughout the region.

"There doesn't appear to be a common threat between them. It appears that these were all isolated incidences," says Metro spokeswoman Caroline Lucas.

Although seven thefts are unusual, six times the average rate, Lucas says Metro routinely sees a spike in thefts this time of year.

"Typically we see higher incidence of snatch-thefts of electronic devices in the months of January and February," says Lucas.

She says people tend to get new gadgets over the holidays and spend even more time focused on them.

"People are still enthralled with them and so they tend to be a little less cognizant of their surroundings," she says.

Lucas says she would like to see riders put their gadgets away while on Metro but she knows that's unrealistic.

"So, at least look up, see who's around you. Pay attention to your surroundings," Lucas recommends.

Lucas says the Metro Transit Police Department is focused on trying to stop thefts by deploying crime-suppression teams out on Metro. Officers make themselves easy targets for thieves and then arrest them.

Lucas urges riders to call police immediately if they have cellphones stolen, so carriers can block them.

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