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Samsung Adds Anti-Theft Features to Galaxy S5 Smartphones

Samsung Electronics is adding two safeguards to its latest smartphone in an effort to deter rampant theft of the mobile devices.

The features announced Friday by the world's leading mobile-phone maker will protect the Samsung Galaxy S5, which goes on sale next week in the U.S. The models sold by wireless carriers Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular will include "Find My Mobile" and "Reactivation Lock" anti-theft options that users can activate for free.

Image: Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung's Galaxy S5 smartphone comes preloaded with anti-theft features. Lee Jin-man / AP

The announcement comes as prosecutors in San Francisco, New York and law enforcement officials nationwide have been demanding manufacturers create "kill" switches to combat surging smartphone theft across the nation.

Samsung says its new measures lock the phone if there's an unauthorized attempt to reset it.

Apple created a similar "activation lock" feature for the iPhone last year.

"The decision ... to provide Samsung's Find My Mobile and Reactivation Lock features on Galaxy S5 smartphones and to allow those features to be activated for free is a step forward in our effort to ensure the industry makes effective theft deterrents available on every smartphone sold in America," New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, and San Francisco's district attorney, George Gascon, said in a statement.

Schneiderman and Gascon, along with London Mayor Boris Johnson, are co-chairs of the coalition Secure Our Smartphone Initiative.

— The Associated Press and Reuters