THE BRONX - Police say they have made 141 arrests as part of a New York City sting operation to catch merchants who buy stolen iPhones and iPads.

Officials say 31 of the arrests were made in the Bronx.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Friday that the arrests were made at convenience stores, newsstands, barber shops and other spots around the city. A Manhattan gas station and a Brooklyn pizza parlor also were on the list.

Undercover officers went to the locations throughout the week offering iPhones and iPads they claimed were stolen. The spokesman said many merchants eagerly purchased the devices for between $50 and $200.

The city has seen an uptick in grand larcenies driven by thefts of hand-held electronics.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the sting was meant to make buyers of the devices "learn the hard way" that the sellers could be police.

AP wire services contributed to this report.