The theft of cell phones is on the rise across the country, and that includes armed robberies to get someone's phone.
Police in San Francisco say nearly half of their robbery cases this year are cell phone-related, while New York City police say cell phones account for 40 percent of all robberies there.
The firm Lookout, which provides apps for mobile security, estimates that stolen and lost cell phones could cost American consumers more than $30 billion this year. In addition to reselling the hardware, cell phone thieves are getting access to bank accounts, credit cards and passcodes that are stored on Smart phones and other mobile devices.
According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, wireless carriers are expected to launch individual databases of stolen cell phones later this month to permanently disable a cell phone once a theft is reported. A national database is scheduled to launch next year.