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Prosecutors push for anti-phone theft measures

NEW YORK — Law enforcement officials nationwide are demanding smartphone ‘‘kill switches’’ to render them inoperable if they are stolen, New York’s top prosecutor said Thursday in a clear warning to manufacturers.

Citing statistics that 1 in 3 robberies involve the theft of a mobile phone, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman unveiled a coalition devoted to stamping out an ‘‘epidemic’’ of robberies.

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‘‘All too often, these robberies turn violent,’’ said Schneiderman, joined at a news conference by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.

The coalition, the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative, includes prosecutors, police, political officials, and consumer advocates from more than a dozen states. It will pressure companies and shareholders to help dry up the market for stolen phones.

‘‘We’re prepared to deepen our inquiry if that is appropriate,’’ Schneiderman said. He would not elaborate.

He likened the functionality of a ‘‘kill switch’’ to the ability for consumers to cancel a stolen credit card.

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