Teenage Asian females are being targeted by smartphone thieves in Richmond.
Since the middle of September, Richmond RCMP has dealt with 16 cases where the victims, usually young Asian women, have been tricked or forced into giving up their smartphones.
Mounties have, through the media, warned people several times not to be fooled by the sob stories spun by thieves who pretend to need the phone for a bogus emergency of some kind.
Only one of the incidents involved a phone being taken by force.
“With the price of cellphones these days you would think that they would be the last item voluntarily given to a total stranger but it's just not the case," said Turley.
“We've been fortunate that no one has been seriously injured but the potential for someone to get hurt is definitely there."
Turley said that in 13 thefts, suspects asked to borrow the smartphone and then fled with the phone in hand.
The Richmond thefts involve three recurring suspects in their early 20s - two Caucasian males and a black male - and the victims are typically Asian females in their late teens or early 20s.
The incidents happened at various times of the day, but mostly in the evenings, in the downtown area from Cambie Road south to Park Road, and from No. 3 Road east to Garden City Road.
Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to contact Richmond RCMP at 604-2781212 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-2228477.