CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- One man confessed to a WNBC reporter that he actually has reached under the bathroom stall to steal a cell phone he saw in pants that were dropped. Now the thief is sharing his tricks and information about how he—and others—steal iPhones quickly and without warning.
“There is a split second when you take your eyes off the phone and that’s when I strike,” said the man who insisted his face be covered and his name not used. “It’s horrible, but I used to look for the easiest target out there--women who weren’t likely to chase me.”
Stealing the iPhone has become very lucrative because they sell well and easy on the black market.
How often do you text or surf when you’re walking around? Let’s face it, we make ourselves easy targets in big, busy cities.
Experts say stolen cell phones cost the American consumer around $30 billion in 2012. In New York City, cell phones represent 40 percent of all robberies and it is a growing crime of opportunity nationwide.
“If I saw someone in a coffee shop or a bookstore that got up and walked away from their stuff, I would take it,” the thief added. “They would come back with their drink or their book and their purse, phone or iPad would be gone. In the past, I don’t know, I have maybe taken 20 phones.
NBC Charlotte checked with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and they say rip off artists like him aren’t so much the problem here. Instead, it’s people leaving their phones out in the open in their cars with open windows and unlocked doors.
If you have an iPhone, you can activate the app called Find My iPhone. It’s already in your phone under your iCloud settings. If your phone is stolen, this app gives you the ability to wipe your phone clean remotely from a computer.