Grand larcenies on subways are up from last year, and police say the jump is largely smartphone thefts.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that there were 311 grand larcenies on the subway in the first three months of the year, 18 percent more than in the same period the previous year.
Raymond Diaz, chief of the NYPD transit bureau, said thieves are stealing smartphones, especially Apple's iPhone 4.
"We've been seeing an incredible trend of young people snatching those cellphones," Diaz told MTA board members at a Thursday meeting.
The paper said the thefts are more common during evening rush hour, often on the 4, 5 and 6 trains in Manhattan, J and L trains in Brooklyn and 7, M and R lines in Queens.
Diaz said passengers near subway doors are targeted more often than those further inside the cars.
He told the board that people using devices on the trains have "just got to be a little cautious, especially when they're sitting by the door."