MOBILE phone thieves are using bicycles to target female workers after they leave their offices, a senior garda has revealed.
Young criminals are concealing their faces before cycling past workers and snatching expensive smartphones from their hands.
Senior gardai in the capital are involved in a major operation which tracks the sale of stolen mobile phones.
Officers have compiled a dossier containing the main players involved in what has been dubbed "Dublin's most prevalent black market".
A senior officer based in Store Street Garda Station last night reiterated the importance of keeping your phone safe.
Superintendent Sean Ward described the open display of iphones as "hanging €500 off the side of your ear".
"There are people who are opportunistic young thieves prepared to steal these phones, so it's vitally important we don't make it easy for them," he told the Herald.
"Make sure you take down your IMEI number and install an application that tracks devices. We have retrieved phones stolen just because someone had the application installed," he added.
New figures show that while there have been falls in a number of crime areas, an 11pc increase has been recorded in the category of 'thefts against the person'.
Supt Ward told the city's Joint Policing Committee that iphone theft is still a "significant issue" in Dublin.
He said there are a number of different methods being used by thieves, which include using bicycles to target female workers.
"I'm not going to be naïve enough to suggest there isn't an issue with phone theft.
"Young men on bicycles in particular target ladies leaving offices and grab the phone and away they go," he added.
A Herald investigation last year uncovered the ease with which stolen mobile phones can be sold to outlets across the city.
Our reporter was offered up to €200 per device – despite telling the salesperson that the phone was stolen.