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DALLAS Her cell phone was gone in a matter of seconds in the parking lot of a Dallas restaurant.

'As soon as I looked up, somebody grabbed it and pushed me, and ran off with my phone,' said the victim. 'I did try to track it, but this person definitely knew what they were doing. They turned off my phone as soon as they got it.'

Across the nation, 1.6 million people were robbed of their cell phones last year. Sometimes, the crime turns violent.

In St. Louis, Megan Boken was shot and killed for her phone.

'She was targeted because she was looking at her smartphone,' said her father, Paul Boken. 'She was talking to her mom, just checking in.'

A 25-year-old woman in Dallas was nearly shot Sunday night over her phone. 'The suspect pointed a gun at complainant which she believed to be a black semi-automatic gun,' according to the police report.

Cell phones are fast cash for crooks. Some lawmakers are pressuring providers to come up with a 'kill switch' which would render a cell phone worthless if stolen.

'That will remove the incentive for anyone to steal a smartphone,' said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

But wireless companies have resisted, saying a 'kill switch' could actually make phones easier to hack.

Critics say providers make millions of dollars off victims, who have to buy new cell phones and pay for cell phone insurance.

New York Police Commissioner William Branton has a simple message for the outlaws: 'Shame on them.'

One of the victims of Sunday night's theft in Dallas says she's now afraid to use her phone in public, and says providers could do more to prevent the crimes.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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