Police warn taxi, Uber drivers of targeted robberies

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CHICAGO -- A warning for cabbies and ride-share drivers downtown: police say they're being targeted by thieves with a tricky little scheme up their sleeves.

Here's how they work: they distract taxi and Uber drivers, then, steal their cell phones.

Police on Wednesday issued a community alert warning taxi and Uber drivers after a series of thefts and robberies, all happening in the middle of the afternoon or early evening in The Loop.

The alert says the thieves use various ruses to distract drivers, like pretending to hand out fliers, while accomplices open the door and take the driver's phone.  Or, getting into cabs for hire -- and stealing cell phones while the driver is distracted by another rider. And in one case, police say, the accomplice pulled out a handgun.

Police are looking for five young men believed to be involved with these thefts and robberies.