Lethbridge Police are investigating the theft of several cell phones and warning potential online buyers to beware.

Retailers across the province are being targeted by groups of youths and young adults who enter a store, distract employees and steal display model phones right off the shelves.

Staff Sergeant Pete Christos says it happened here at the Telus store in Park Place Mall last Friday where suspects made off with $9,000 worth of merchandise.

The investigation is ongoing as police try to identify the suspects.

In the meantime, Christos says anyone buying a phone using online classified ads, auctions or marketplace sites should ask the seller for the phone’s serial number and check it online at www.devicecheck.ca to see if it’s stolen.

If proceeding with the purchase, Christos recommends meeting the seller in a public place like the Safe Exchange Zone in the parking lot of the LPS station and if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.