NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York Sen. Charles Schumer is asking major cell phone carriers to help put an end to cell phone thefts by deactivating the phones themselves if reported lost or stolen.

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Schumer says New York City is ranked second behind Miami with the greatest amount of cell phone theft.

“Forty-one percent of all thefts in New York involve a cell phone, meaning the cell phone is stolen alone or the cell phone is stolen with other goods,” said Schumer. “They’re valuable, they’re small, they’re easily stolen and there is a big black market readily available so they can be cashed in for hundreds of dollars.”

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That’s why he’s asking cell phone carriers to use current technology to deactive the device instead of just their data storage or SIM cards.

“This technology won’t require new devices, won’t require new expenses, consumers won’t have to do a thing, the devices already have the identifiers in them,” said Schumer.

Schumer says Verizon is the only phone carrier that actually turns off a stolen phone. He has written letters to AT&T, T-Mobile and Nextel asking they do the same.

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