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Police warn of cellphone thefts from Mag Mile restaurants

Niles North High School student SabrinGheorghitlike many students her age has cell phone. The 'Decide Drive' program school was part

Niles North High School student Sabrina Gheorghita, like many students her age, has a cell phone. The "Decide to Drive," program at the school was part of a national effort to teach young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. | Brian O'Mahoney~

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Updated: January 4, 2013 2:30AM

Police are warning diners at restaurants in the North Michigan Avenue area that if young men come up to you to try to raise money for their sports team, you may want to grab your cellphone — before thieves do.

Police in the Central and Near North districts issued a business alert Thursday to let the businesses and their patrons know of an increase in thefts of cellphones in the past few days.

The thieves enter the restaurant and walk up to the victims with a flier and say they are raising money for their basketball team. They place the flier atop the victim’s cellphone while engaging them in conversation, and when the young man retrieves his flier, he also grabs the phone.

The suspects, who work in a group, were seen in a tan four-door hardtop car, possibly a Buick, with unknown plates.

Thefts have occurred:

— In the 300 block of North Michigan Avenue at 4:50 p.m. Dec. 31

— In the 600 block of North Fairbanks Court at 5:45 p.m. Jan. 2

— In the 100 block of North Wabash at 6:10 p.m. Jan. 2

— In the 400 block of East Ontario at 8:40 p.m. Jan. 2

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