Nottinghamshire Police officers investigating a series of distraction thefts have called for the public to remain vigilant.
It comes as police from Nottingham city centre’s neighbourhood policing team are investigating two reports of theft from a fast food restaurant in Milton Street that have happened within the past ten days.
In both incidents, a man has approached members of the public and asked them for help in some way before taking their phones from tables.
Chief Inspector Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Our investigation into both reports is at an early stage but we are keen for the public to remain vigilant against this kind of offence.
“We would like to speak with a man, believed to be white and in his 20s, around 5 foot 10 inches tall of slim build with dark hair and white highlighted tips in connection with the reports.
“Please see below for some advice on mobile phone safety.”
Securing your phone
- Never leave your phone unattended. If you have to leave it, make sure it’s secure, out of sight and can’t be heard.
- Don’t draw attention to your phone by leaving it on view on tables in pubs, cafes and restaurants. A tactic used by thieves is to place newspapers or other items over the phone and scoop it up. They sometimes distract phone owners by asking for directions and taking the phone when they are not looking.
- Don’t leave your phone unattended in coat pockets or bags.
- Lock the keypad using a PIN number or pattern code when you are not using your phone. This means it can’t be used to make calls or access your personal data, such as emails and social media accounts, if it is stolen. Use random numbers instead of birthdates or other guessable formats.
- Regularly back up your data, contacts and photos in case your phone gets damaged, lost or stolen.
- Record your IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity) somewhere safe. To find out what yours is dial *#06# on your phone or look in the settings on your smartphone.
- Registering your details makes it more likely that you will be reunited with your phone if it is stolen and later recovered by the Police.
- If your phone is stolen – report it to the Police immediately. Tell them your IMEI number, if you have any tracking apps installed or any markings on your phone. Tell your insurer and service provider too.
- Mark your phone, battery and accessories with your postcode using an ultraviolet marker pen. If your phone is stolen and later recovered by police this will make it easier to reunite you with it.
- Set it to lock after one or two minutes without use.
- Carry a charger wire or portable charger to make sure you are topped up when required.
- Avoid saving any personal/sensitive information on your phone.
- Consider turning off geolocation services in camera apps and your mobile settings. Turn it on only when you need to use it. It will also increase your battery life.
Anyone with any information on either reports of theft should contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 266 of 13 September 2020.