Thieves tar­get stu­dents

Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

THIEVES are catch­ing pub­lic trans­port to swipe elec­tronic de­vices from un­sus­pect­ing school kids, po­lice say.

Stu­dents are be­ing urged to keep elec­tronic de­vices out of sight when com­mut­ing to avoid be­ing tar­geted.

The mes­sage fol­lows an in­crease in the theft of smart­phones, tablets and lap­tops be­ing snatched from stu­dents trav­el­ling on trains and buses.

School Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Sergeant Deane McEn­tee says thieves rou­tinely ride pub­lic trans­port look­ing for un­wary stu­dents.

‘‘There are peo­ple who ac­tively catch trains and buses to steal. They will iden­tify some­one they per- ceive as be­ing vul­ner­a­ble and then tar­get them,’’ he says.

Mr McEn­tee says a com­mon sce­nario is for the of­fender to move when the stu­dent is chat­ting or us­ing the de­vice as the train nears the sta­tion.

‘‘The of­fender sees it, grabs it and sprints off the train. There is no lin­ger­ing around the sta­tion. The doors are open and they are out.’’

Uni­formed of­fi­cers have been dis­patched to be present on pub­lic trans­port in or­der to help pin-point the cul­prits.

Mr McEn­tee says stu­dent’s can de­crease the risk if they are more aware of their sur­round­ings and are care­ful not to pub­li­cise the fact they are car­ry­ing ex­pen­sive equip­ment.

‘‘It is part of a stu­dent’s makeup th­ese days. They head to school with iPods on, they’ve got cell­phones and other stuff, and that’s the world we live in, but we are ad­ver­tis­ing it,’’ Mr McEn­tee says.

‘‘It’s very easy for peo­ple who may be up to no good to see th­ese things and tar­get that per­son.’’

Po­lice are ad­vis­ing stu­dents to keep items out of sight while rid­ing pub­lic trans­port.

‘‘If you have to stand have the bag in front of you rather than at the back of you,’’ Mr McEn­tee says.

Photo: JOE DAW­SON

Law and or­der: School Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Sergeant Deane McEn­tee says stu­dents are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble for theft while rid­ing pub­lic trans­port.

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