Thieves are using new distraction techniques to prize people's expensive phones from their hands in Richmond.
According to Richmond RCMP, in previous thefts, suspects were tricking people by asking them for the time.
When victims pulled out their cell phone to check the time, the suspect grabbed the phone and headed for the hills.
But with people getting wise to the trick, thieves are employing new methods in the city.
"This past week in Richmond there have been four incidents where a different distraction technique has been used to steal cell phones," explained Cpl. Sherrdean Turley, media relations officer for Richmond RCMP.
"Suspects are now tricking people into believing they have an emergency and need to make a phone call. People are handing over their phones because they want to help but they're only becoming victims."
On Sept. 16, around 6:30 p.m., in the 6400 block of Buswell Street, two males approached two females and asked to borrow their iPhone.
The males appeared to be in a panic so the victim dialed a number for the males and handed over the phone.
The males laughed and took off running, phone in hand.
Two similar incidents occurred on September 17, the first of which happened around noon at Saba and No. 3 roads and the second occurred around 3 p.m. in the 4400 block of Hazelbridge Way. In both incidents a female victim was approached by a male suspect and iPhones were stolen.
The fourth incident occurred on September 18 around 2 p.m. in the 6300 block of Buswell Street. Two females were approached by two males and a female, asking to borrow their phone, which was consequently handed over.
A brief physical altercation ensued, the suspects fled with the phone and no one was injured. A 15-year-old Richmond male was arrested moments later and taken into custody.
He was later released with a court date of Nov. 13. All four incidents are still under investigation.
Richmond RCMP would like to recommend that people not hand over their cell phones if they find themselves in a similar situation. And don't admit to carrying a cell phone if you have it tucked away and simply make your way into a neighboring business where you can use their phone to call police.