Thief stabbed man, stole cellphone, Orange County deputies say

Authorities see uptick in violent robberies involving smartphones

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando police are searching for the culprit who they say stabbed a man while he was walking down the street and stole his cellphone on Tuesday night.

A 26-year-old man visiting from Puerto Rico tells police he was walking on North Semoran Boulevard near Curry Ford Road when a man wearing a baseball cap walked up to him and stabbed him in the leg.

The man then took his Samsung Galaxy S4 along with some cash. The victim was treated at the hospital for his stab wound.

The same day, near the Mall at Millenia, a woman was walking home from the bus stop on Oak Ridge Road when a thief ran up behind her, snatched her cellphone out of her back pocket and took off. She was able to track her phone to downtown Orlando before the thief turned off the tracking feature, police said.

The two cases are not believed to be related.

Smartphone thefts, which authorities are calling "Apple picking" are becoming increasingly violent. Authorities say one out of every three robberies involves cellphones.

Orange County Sheriff's Office recently put together a public service announcement about thefts.

"Keep your smartphone out of sight.  When listening to music, keep it in your pocket. Always be aware of your surroundings," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said. "And if your smartphone is snatched, report it stolen."

Cellphone manufacturers are coming up with ways to make the devices less desirable to thieves, such as the iPhone's new fingerprint sensor.

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