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SF, NY officials to meet over cellphone thefts

Thursday - 6/6/2013, 5:50pm  ET

TERRY COLLINS
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Top law enforcement officials from San Francisco and New York plan to meet with some of the nation's largest smartphone makers next week to help thwart the rise in cellphone thefts and robberies.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Wednesday that their meeting scheduled to take place in New York City on June 13 will be dubbed a "Smartphone Summit."

Gascon and Schneiderman said they plan to meet with representatives from Apple Inc., Google Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Microsoft Corp. and urge them to create new technology to permanently and quickly disable stolen smartphones, making them worthless to thieves.

In San Francisco, where more than half all robberies involve a cellphone, Gascon has called on the companies to create new technology such as a "kill switch" to render phones useless. His office cites a 27-year old tourist who suffered severe knife wounds to his face and throat two weeks ago after being robbed by two men over his iPhone.

In New York, Schneiderman said there was a 40 percent spike in cellphone thefts last year. Authorities there have coined the thefts of the popular iPhone and other Apple-related products as "Apple-picking."

"With 1.6 million Americans falling victim to smartphone theft in 2012, this has become a national epidemic," Gasc
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