Mounties are warning Lower Mainland residents against parading their electrical gadgets out in public after a Surrey man was hospitalized in a brutal weekend attack by thieves trying to steal his cell phone.

Corneliu Belciug was walking home from a North Surrey church after a Saturday night service at around 9 p.m. when an unknown number of attackers whacked him from behind.

"I just remember feeling a heavy blow to the head and that's all I remember," Belciug told CTV News.

The thugs took money from his wallet and police believe they were trying to get his LG smartphone but were spooked and fled.

Belciug was badly injured but managed to find his phone and call his wife.

Stefania Ulici found her battered husband groaning in a parking lot several blocks from their home.

"He was just full of blood and some of it was coagulated over his face, his clothes," she said.

The blows to his head could have been fatal because Belciug is on blood thinners awaiting open heart surgery. He has since been released from hospital but struggles emotionally to deal with the attack.

"I've had all kinds of nightmares," he said.

Belciug and Ulici hope that a police investigation will find the attackers.

Police say they have seen a spike in reported cell phone and MP3 player robberies and recommend the public to be as discreet as possible when using electronic devices or to keep them out of sight -- especially at night.

"It's an issue that plagues the region quite frankly. Cell phone robberies are pretty prevalent," said RCMP Cpl Drew Grainger.

"If somebody does try and confront you for this device, just give it to them. It's not worth struggling over a piece of property such as this."

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Michelle Brunoro