Police have released CCTV footage showing how a 'phone dipper' was able to use a sleight of hand trick to steal a woman's phone right in front of her.
If people are trying to nick things from you for reasons that should be obvious they'll target your most valuable possessions.
The standout thing to steal is a person's phone, unless of course you're one of those who's still going around with anancient Nokia or something and even then it might get nicked so the robber can play Snake on it.
Anyhow, Greater Manchester Police recently announced that two men were jailed for stealing a number of phones in Manchester City Centre and earned themselves the nickname 'phone dippers' for the way they robbed people.
Their malevolent modus operandi was to cover their target's phone with a sheet of paper while distracting them and steal the device while the owner's line of sight was broken.
GMP released CCTV footage of one such incident where two people were sitting at a bar and a woman had her phone on the table which would be stolen in a matter of seconds.
A man with a sheet of paper came over to scope out the tables and identify any vulnerable valuables they could get their hands on.
He pulled the old: "Hello there, look at this piece of paper I'm placing over your phone, let me chat to you for a couple of seconds while I sneakily get it into my hand under the sheet, you're not interested in whatever waffle I've got to say so now I've got your phone I'll leave with it in my hand."
The routine worked, as he walked off with his ill-gotten gains and his victim momentarily none the wiser that her phone wasn't on the table where she left it.
Obviously, crime doesn't pay, and he later ended up being jailed for this theft and several others.
GMP Superintendent Dave Meeney said the phone dippers were 'only taking around 20 seconds' to spot a victim and make off with their phone and 'continue to have no remorse for the victims'.
He explained that they've released the CCTV footage of this incident to show people how easily a nefarious ne'er do well could get their hands on your phone and snaffle it away into their own possession without you even knowing.
Keeping phones off the table and instead tucked away somewhere on your person was a key tip to avoid this sort of trick, flashy sleight of hand thefts are easier to pull off when the phone being stolen is just out in the open.
He also recommended that people got acquainted with their phone's IMEI number which lets you identify it if it's been stolen.
You can find out your number by dialling *#06# (just to be clear that's star, hash, zero, six, hash) and keeping a note of it somewhere.
If your phone does get stolen you can report the number to your mobile provider to stop it from being used.Featured Image Credit: Greater Manchester Police