CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating a startling crime that targeted a teenager in a popular shopping area.

It happened Wednesday evening at the Stonecrest Shopping Center in Ballantyne.

The 19-year-old victim said two suspects grabbed his iPhone outside a Harris Teeter store, which the victim said he paid for by working at the store. He said he was just leaving after visiting friends when the suspects grabbed his phone and ran.

Dylan McCready has quickly learned a couple life lessons: Hard work pays off and so does watching out for crime.

“I saved up my money and now it’s gone,” said McCready. “I was on my cell phone not paying attention, so pay attention to your surroundings.”

McCready said two young men startled him when they stole his iPhone 7 from his hands around 8 p.m. Wednesday.

“All of a sudden I hear someone yell, ‘Bro!’ I look up and he’s slapping the phone out of my hands and we struggle for it, I grab it, he grabbed it from me and then they take off. Scary stuff,” says McCready.

It’s the not the first time shoppers have been scared stiff at the Stonecrest Shopping Center. Earlier this year, two teenage girls were held up at knifepoint near the Wendy’s parking lot. Before that, a 19-year-old man was robbed outside Target.

“I’m really surprised because I don’t consider this a high crime area,” one shopper previously said to NBC Charlotte.

McCready says he tried to chase the suspects for a short time.

“They kept running, so I called the police instead of continuing to chase them,” he explained.

However, he’s reminded of one other valuable lesson. Safety is more important than any property.

“I’m more upset that something like that would happen rather than my phone being missing, I’m just glad everyone is OK,” said McCready.

So far, no arrests have been made. Police say it’s an ongoing investigation.