TAMPA BAY - A cell phone is pure cash to a determined thief. 113 are stolen every minute nationwide in a growing pattern of crime.
The Tampa Police Department isn't the only agency using YouTube to issue the warning, but they may be the only department employing a dog to do it.
Over the score of "Mission Impossible", we meet Razzy, a 10-year-old border collie looking to swipe a cell phone from two chatty friends in the park. And while the three minute video looks homemade, it's actually a production of the Tampa Police Department
"Every concept we came up just wasn't working. Then we thought about using a dog as a thief. Anything with animals seems to make it's way around viral videos so we hoped that would get people interested in liking the video" said Andrea Davis, TPD spokesperson.
The star of the video that's gotten more than 5,000 views is the Davis' pet.
The doggie drama sends a serious message about the rising number of cell phone thefts everywhere, including Tampa.
"About three stolen cell phone reports a day we're taking" said Davis.
"People need to treat their phone as if it were their wallet the phone is just as valuable."
Maybe more so, if you keep banking and other personal account data on your phone.
As our I-Team investigators found, even phones that are discarded often have open banking apps and personal photos and messages for anyone to see.
The TPD video includes a scrolling list of tips that include adding a pin number to lock your phone and downloading a phone tracking app.
Because phones can be so easily sold for cash, carrying one actually puts us at some risk.
That why some federal lawmakers want to increase the penalties for using a stolen phone and get cell companies to offer a kill switch that would render any stolen phone useless.
The Tampa Police video can be seen here: http://youtu.be/nq60PAHlh0Y