Criminal Justice

See the video: Woman chases youth who grabs iPhone; such thefts are 'epidemic,' sometimes lethal


Following in the footsteps of a Washington, D.C., judge, a woman whose iPhone was snatched on a Metro platform on Saturday made a valiant effort to chase down the thief, falling and getting up to take up the pursuit again.

A suspect was captured outside the station, the Washington Post’s Dr. Gridlock blog reports. Security footage of the initial portion of the chase is included in the article.

In 2011, Superior Court Judge Stephen Milliken had a similar experience, chasing down a suspect and recovering a cellphone (it wasn’t the judge’s), although the young man then ran off.

The incidents were part of a growing theft trend, both nationally and internationally, targeting electronic devices. Officials recommend that transit riders try to avoid using electronic devices in public and, if they are stolen, report thefts to police rather than trying to capture the culprit.

In the nation’s capital, 643 iPhones were reportedly stolen in the transit system last year, up from 491 the previous year, officials said.

Such thefts are fueled by the ease of selling stolen property. Hence, some are lobbying for a so-called kill switch to deter thieves from stealing iPhones and other electronic devices by making it easy to disable the equipment once it is stolen.

Among the proponents of that idea is Annie Palazzolo, a 29-year-old lawyer whose younger sister was killed in 2012 when she resisted an iPhone thief, the New York Post reports.

“As a New York City resident, where smartphones account for more than 20 percent of all robberies, I’m acutely aware of how widespread this problem has become,” Palazzolo said earlier this month at a press conference in which she, the state attorney general and others called for the enactment of a federal law to require kill switches in smartphones.

AG Eric Schneiderman said such thefts are “epidemic,” the newspaper reports.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Should the cellphone industry do more to end the trade in stolen smartphones?”

ABAJournal.com: “Carriers nix proposed ‘kill switch’ solution to problem of rampant smartphone thefts”

New York Daily News: “Federal bill could require kill switches for new smartphones to prevent theft “

Dr. Gridlock (Washington Post, reg. req.): “iPhone stolen from judge on Metro”

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