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String of Surrey robberies prompts police warning

After a string of robberies, Surrey RCMP are urging teens to be discrete with their cell phone use while in public. - File
After a string of robberies, Surrey RCMP are urging teens to be discrete with their cell phone use while in public.
— image credit: File

Mounties have nabbed three teens believed to be responsible for a string of recent street robberies.

On Dec. 13, Surrey RCMP's Robbery Unit arrested three suspects believed to be responsible for a number of thefts of handheld electronics.

Zakaria Noor, 18, Michael Lal, 19, and an unnamed youth are facing 12 counts of robbery related charges from crimes committed in Newton.

More arrests and charges are expected as the investigation continues.

"We have a number of victims identified, they're just not as cooperative as we need them to be," said RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger.

Police are concerned about the activities of an organized group of males who have been robbing people of their mobile phones over the last few months.

Typically, the victims are responding to online advertisements to either sell or buy a mobile phone. When the victims are threatened with physical violence, sometimes with a weapon, and are robbed.

The transactions are usually set up in the Newton area.

"Many young people will be getting these devices for Christmas... we've seen these types of robberies as crimes of opportunity, where they see these young people at the mall on the phone or their personal device and they're confronted by some thug who's demanding they turn it over to them," Grainger said.

Police are urging people to take precautions when arranging to meet with people they don't know when buying or selling items.

"By not following some basic safety steps, you are putting yourself in a potentially compromising or dangerous situation,” Grainger said.

Police recommend the following tips:

• Avoid meeting in secluded areas and choose a safe public place where other people are around.

• Consider having a friend accompany you and tell a friend or family member where you are going.

• Be aware of your surroundings and always trust your instincts.

@diakiw

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