Thieves trying to snag iPhones and other electronics on the subways have been increasingly targeting sleeping riders, transit officials said yesterday.

NYPD transit bureau chief Joseph Fox told the MTA's transit committee that thefts involving sleeping riders made up nearly a third of all grand larcenies in the subway system last month, up from 17 percent last year.

In the past, subway crooks typically snatched devices out of the hands of commuters sitting near train doors, Fox said. But in recent weeks, he said, "more often they've been stealing from passengers who are sleeping on the train."

Grand larcenies have increased nearly 40 percent so far this year, compared with the same period last year. The NYPD has countered by adding more than 240 transit cops.

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