NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In the Bronx, police are looking for a group of suspects who they say are stealing people’s iPhones right out of their hands.
It’s probably something almost everyone has done — holding your cellphone in your hand while walking down the street.
That’s all one 51-year-old man was guilty of doing when a robbery suspect turned the corner and snatched it right out of his hand.
“People don’t have any regard for anybody else’s life or property,” Bronx resident Julie Ann Lucas told CBS2’s Marc Liverman. “That’s basically it, just no regard for anybody else.”
That incident happened Friday on Grand Concourse right near McClellan Street in the Grand Concourse section. By the time the 51-year-old victim tried to chase after the thief, it was already too late.
“It could happen to anybody,” Bronx resident Lucy Goetz said.
The first reported incident happened on Nov. 2 and over the course of just over a month, police say the same group of people has been stealing iPhones out of people’s hands and back pockets all over the Bronx. In one incident, the victim’s debit cards were also stolen.
There have been 15 incidents so far, and police say sometimes the suspects get violent.
Police say a 33-year old woman was walking right near East 165th Street and Grand Concourse when a suspect came up to her, punched her in the face and ripped the iPhone right out of her hand before taking off.
In other incidents, according to police, the suspects have pushed their victims from behind before grabbing their phone.
“You gotta stay vigilant no matter what. That doesn’t excuse the behavior of the people who are stealing these things, though. Just stay aware always,” Manhattan resident Christian Cascone said.
“I think that people should just not be oblivious and you have to be aware of your surroundings,” Goetz said.
Police think the suspects are between the ages of 15-18.
Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.