Baltimore County Police are urging residents to be attentive and protect their personal property in the wake of a pair of Tuesday, July 31, incidents in which iPhones were literally snatched from their owners' hands in Towson.

"Whether you're talking about a cell phone or a purse or a laptop, the key is to not make yourself or the item any more vulnerable than you have to and be alert at all times," County Emergency Spokeswoman Elise Armacost told the Towson Times Wednesday.

"People who are bent on taking something that does not belong to them are going to be more likely to go after someone who looks like they're not paying attention than someone who's securing their items."

According to a police report, a woman was waiting in line to make a purchase at the Exxon in the 800 block of York Road in Towson at 4:25 p.m. Tuesday when a man plucked her iPhone from her hand and fled with a cohort down York Road.

In a separate report said that 25 minutes later, a man and woman were sitting on the steps outside the Towson Town Center mall when four men approached them and stole the man's iPhone and the woman's purse.

Additionally, two men stole a customer's iPad inside the York Road Starbucks in Towson on July 14.

To protect against such instances, Armacost urged residents to keep a close eye on their valuables.

"Just don't leave cell phones or electronic devices unattended," she said. "If you're walking, hold them securely and pay attention to your surroundings."