STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — They’re fast, and focused.
A gang of thieves is so determined to steal iPhones the cops have given them a name: “Apple pickers.”
Video observed by CBS 2’s Lou Young shows the thieves in action. One is seen coming in on two wheels, drawn by the presence of an iPhone and a distracted victim.
“He makes his move on her right there and he drops the bike. Now, the bike’s probably stolen because he takes off an leaves it,” Stamford Police Capt. Rich Conklin said.
Cops are calling them “Apple pickers,” and they’ve been at it since before the holidays, sometimes working in pairs.
After nearly 40 attacks, the pattern is pretty clear. The victim is alone with their phone in broad daylight. The victim is almost always a woman — all except for one case — and the phone is always an Apple.
“I was mad and at the same time sad because I spent my money to buy that phone,” victim Joselyn Barrera told CBS 2’s Young.
And the victims seldom get a look at who robs them. The Apple pickers are very careful about that.
“All she’s seeing is somebody on a bicycle leaving her with their hoods up, so they say ‘He’s wearing a grey hood, and that’s all I have,’” Capt. Conklin said.
Security apps on the phones are disabled quickly. Cops believe each one goes for $150 to $200 on the street. Only a few of the robberies have been caught on video.
The thieves seem to be getting bolder as times goes on. The latest robbery took place here at the Lunch Hour on Tuesday. The assailant got away before anyone could react. Police are urging everyone not to get so wrapped up in our phone conversations that we start to look like easy prey.
Police said they are expanding their investigation to include iPhone thefts from local restaurants in the hope of getting better security video of the thieves.
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