A disturbing string of muggings in Montreal's west end has prompted schools to step up their efforts to protect students.
Police say at least a handful of teens have been targeted for their smartphones.

Two students at Royal West Academy in Montreal West were recently mugged after school.

One of them was walking home along Sherbrooke St. W when three older teen not from his school told him to hand over his phone, threatening to stab him if he didn’t/

As far as officials know, it’s a first in Montreal West.

“It’s a situation now where kids are walking around with fancy cellphones, walking around with iPads, so those things are automatically a target,” said Beny Masella, Montreal West borough mayor.

Montreal police would not comment Wednesday, but told Masella there have been several similar incidents involving teens in Cote-des-Neiges, NDG and Westmount.

“It’s always the same MO,” said Masella. “They come up to the kid, they say 'Do you have the time?' and rather than check their wristwatch, they pull out their cell phone, their iPad.”

In response, both police and Montreal West public security have increased public security patrols afterschool.

Meantime, Royal West Academy is teaching students to protect themselves.

“Our responsibility is to inform out students, make them more vigilant and more aware of what's going on out there in the public,” said Nick Stamiris, RWA’s vice-principal.

He advises students not to walk home alone and to try to be discreet about your smartphone.