iPhone thefts increasing on Green Line?

Becca asked me in email today whether there's been a growing rate of iPhone thefts on the Green Line:

I
was riding the Green Line today from Oak Park to the city and my phone
was snatched out of my hot little hands in the middle of typing a
Tweet.  When I spoke to the person at the Oak Park AT&T store they
said that a number of other people had come in during the week
reporting similar incidents.  When I shared my experience on my Oak
Park blog
, even more people commented that the same thing had happened
to them or people they knew.  It sounds like a dangerous trend my be
starting.

There have been other complaints of problems on the Green Line, but I haven't heard of phon snatchings.

All I can say is, be careful out there. Of course, when you're looking at your phone you're not aware of your surroundings. So think about that next time your head is buried in your phone.

See the continuation for a similar theft story, and alleged CTA inaction.

This came via email from Vince:

I just read the story "iPhone thefts increasing on Green Line?"
and felt compelled to write you. While I currently go to school in DC,
I am from Oak Park and all of my family still lives there. On his way
to volunteer at a PADS homeless shelter in Oak Park, my 14 year-old
brother was surrounded by several older teenagers outside of the Green
Line station at Oak Park Ave. & South Blvd. They promptly demanded
his iPhone, which he handed over, and then ran into the El station and
onto the Green Line to escape into the city.

I was particularly disturbed by the incident as it
occurred in broad daylight and that the CTA security guard on-duty was
anything but helpful. She told my brother as he ran into the station
that she could do nothing to help him. The guarded falsely explained
how she had no cellphone, no walkie-talkie, and no in-station telephone
with which she could call the police. As explained by the CTA and
Securitas, there is a telephone in every station's booth and the guards
are required to have a walkie-talkie and cellphone. I think it should
be brought to CTA riders' attention that the guards do not have their
best interests at heart. The CTA has hired Securitas to patrol their
stations, yet no such protection occurs. Chicago El riders have been
left to fend for themselves and they deserve to be aware of this
abandonment. 

Comments

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  • I hope who ever stole the phone had the decency to finish the tweet.

  • Same thing almost happened to me several months ago. I was sitting in the seat near the door, and some kid tried to swipe my iPhone out of my hand as he ran out the door. Thankfully, I hung onto it. Same thing almost happened with my purse last year when I was sitting in a similar seat, also on the Green Line. Didn't get that either. And I've been mugged at gunpoint on the Green Line too. Gotta love that line.

  • In reply to emma621:

    This was the Green Line to Harlem, too, right?

  • In reply to emma621:

    i put my ipod/etc away if i'm on the green line. sorry, but that line rolls though some serious shitholes.

  • In reply to emma621:

    I strongly feel that secuitas worker should be fired due to the fact that what if the kid was shot how would he or she would have called for help then. I also feel that the trains should put cameras on the train so they could identify the crimes that occurs on the train.

  • In reply to dduffie1d:

    I'm with you, Deandrey.

    I hope a formal complaint was filed. If the guard lied about the possibility of phoning for help/investigation/pursuit of the criminals, she should be fired.

  • In reply to dduffie1d:

    I was riding the green line from Oak Park to the city last night and had the same thing happen to me.... luckily, sheer frustration kept a death grip on my phone and that little SOB didn't get jack crap from me. Honestly, I despise the green line and am taking Metra, even though it's only two stops, from now on.

  • In reply to dduffie1d:

    I normally leave my iPhone in my pocket because I know its a rough area, but last night I had it out. Just before Cicero, two guys with hoodies and facemasks approached me and started punching me in the head repeatedly. After 10-15 seconds, one of the guys tried to grab my iPhone, and somehow, I held onto it until they ran out the doors just before they closed. I would NEVER keep any valuables out in that area again. The police said they couldn't help unless I got out and waited for them at that stop or the next stop - completely useless. I think I'll be riding the Metra from now on.

  • In reply to dduffie1d:

    Late on the story but there was an attempted mugging last night right before 6 pm just before the Austin stop. Group of kids causing chaos while one tried to swipe an iphone. The girl fought back and they were punching each other. Two passengers stepped in to break them apart. I totally keep all electronics out of sight as well as a constant death grip on my bag. I'll be taking the metra again when the weather warms up.

  • In reply to dduffie1d:

    MY iPHONE WAS STOLEN RIGHT OUR OF MY HANDS ON APRIL 13, 2010 AND THE CTA DOES NOT HAVE SECURITY CAMERAS ON GREEN LINE EXISTS, ESPECIALLY AT THE LARAMIE EXIT. THE THUG LOW LIFE UGLY CREEP WAS WEARING A BLACK BASEBALL CAP, BETWEEN 5'9" and 6' FEET TALL, SLENDER BUILD AND LOOKED LIKE A TYPICAL TEENAGE BLACK TEEN WITH THE LOSE BLACK JEANS AND A HOODED JACKET.

    IT WAS ALL PLANNED OUT AND I SHOULD HAVE TRUSTED MY FIRST THOUGHTS. HE DID NOT WORK ALONE>> I FELT ANOTHER TEENAGER BETWEEN 18 TO EARLY 20'S GUY OVERLOOKING MY SHOULDER A FEW STOPS BACK AT SOME POINT BETWEEN CLINTON AND CICERO. WHAT OCCURRED WAS THE FOLLOWING:

    I WAS SITTING IN THE LAST TRAIN CAB.

    THIEF WAITED FOR THE TRAIN TO ALMOST COME TO A STOP WHEN HE GRABBED MY PHONE OUT OF MY HANDS (I SHOULD HAVE SIMPLY LOOKED UP BEFORE THE DOORS OPENED).

    THEN HE TURNED AROUND AND RAN OUT THE DOOR BEFORE THE DOORS CLOSED AND RAN STRAIGHT DOWN THE STAIRWAY TO THE LARAMIE EXIT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS.

    IT HAPPEND IN LESS THAN 20 SECONDS, HE GOT AWAY!! SO WHAT CAN YOU DO? NOTHING! HE TOOK IT AN NOW HE IS GOING TO SELL IT. BUT WHAT THE THIEF DOES NOT KNOW IS THAT ALL IPHONES HAVE A MAC ADDRESS (MEDIA ACCESS CONTROL LAYER ADRESS) AND A UNIQUE EMEI Or IMEI NUMBER. EVENTUALLY YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FIND YOUR STOLEN PHONE IF AT&T AND OTHER CARRIERS COOPERATE. AT THE MOMENT THERE ARE PRIVACY LAWS IN PLACE AND THEY WILL NOT GIVE YOU THE PERSONS NAME WHICH HAS YOUR PHONE WHEN THEY ATTEMPT TO ACTIVATE IT, BUT THEY WILL REPORT THE USER TO THE POLICE AND PLACE THE IMEI or EMEI NUMBER TO A NATIONAL BLACK LIST.

    I WAS SMART IN SETTING THE PASSCODE LOCK ON THE PHONE TO BECAUSE AFTER 10 FAILED ATTEMPTS THE PHONE WILL WIPE OUT ALL OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION AND THE THIEF WILL HAVE TO RESET THE PHONE TO TRY AND SELL IT.

    BUYERS OF STOLEN IPHONES BEWARE!! YOU MAY END UP GOING TO JAIL OR LOSING THE MONEY YOU PAID FOR THE STOLEN PHONE.

    RECOMMENDATIONS:
    1) SET THE PASSCODE LOCK
    2) GET MOBILEME
    3) DO NOT THROW AWAY THE BOX THAT CAME WITH YOUR PHONE AT TIME OF PURCHASE. BOX CONTAINS EMEI NUMBER, MAC ADDRESS, AND SERIAL NUMBER.
    4) DO NOT WHERE THE WHITE IPHONE HEADPHONES SO YOU ARE NOT TARGETED
    5) SIT IN A TRAIN WHERE THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE (THERE WERE ONLY 4 WOMAN IN MY CAB AT THE TIME)..NO MEN. THEY WATCH CAREFULLY.
    6)SIMPLY KEEP YOUR PHONE PUT AWAY BETWEEN..(WELL YOU SHOULDNT HAVE TO)
    7)CARRY PEPPER SPRAY and WHATEVER ELSE YOU THINK WILL HELP!!
    8) WHAT YOUR SURROUNDING BEFORE THE DOOR OPENS AND HANG ON TO THAT IPHONE!

    BE PATIENT!! DEVELOPERS ARE DEVELOPING APPS TO FIND OUT WHERE YOUR PHONE IS AFTER IT IS STOLEN. USUSALLY THIEVES ON GREEN LINE ARE ILLITERATE< HAVE NO EDUCATION

  • In reply to dduffie1d:

    BEWARE OF iPHONE AND BLACKBERY THIEVES ON CTA GREEN LINE!

    MY iPHONE WAS STOLEN RIGHT OUR OF MY HANDS ON APRIL 13, 2010. THE CTA DOES NOT HAVE SECURITY CAMERAS ON THE GREEN LINE PLATFORM EXISTS WHERE THEY ARE NEEDED MOST. ESPECIALLY AT THE CICERO - LARAMIE AND CENTRAL EXITS.
    DESCRIPTION: THUG, LOW LIFE, GOOD FOR NOTHING CREEP WAS WEARING A BLACK BASEBALL CAP, HE MEASURED BETWEEN 5'9" and 6' FEET TALL, SLENDER BUILD, BLACK TEEN BETWEEN 18 AND 22, WITH LOSE BLACK JEANS AND A BLACK HOODED JACKET.

    IT WAS ALL PLANNED OUT AND I SHOULD HAVE TRUSTED MY FIRST THOUGHTS. HE DID NOT WORK ALONE. I FELT ANOTHER TEENAGER BETWEEN THE AGES OF 18

  • In reply to emma621:

    Not just the Green Line. Wasn't there just a story about a guy whose iPhone was stolen AT GUNPOINT on the Red Line as his train was sitting at the Wilson stop? This happens everywhere, on trains, walking down the street. Bottom line: sometimes, in certain situations, you have to stop the texting, stop the Tweets, take off the headphones or at least turn them down and Pay. Attention. I've seen too many people walking down streets at night with their heads down, earphones in and their fingers texting madley, not paying attention to who is walking to or behind them. Seriously, wake up. P.S.: I had my iPhone snatched out of my hand because (you guess it) I had my head down and was texting. Some kid on a bike rode up and snatched it out of my hand. My sidewalk texting days are over.

  • In reply to emma621:

    Also there's this:

    "that the CTA security guard on-duty was anything but helpful. She told my brother as he ran into the station that she could do nothing to help him. The guarded falsely explained how she had no cellphone, no walkie-talkie, and no in-station telephone with which she could call the police."

    Even if the guard WAS telling the truth about having no phone, etc., then what purpose do they serve? As eyewitnesses after the fact? Seriously, if they're not helping the riders or increasing security just by being there, then get rid of them, save that money and let passengers just deal with it.

  • In reply to emma621:

    I agree. One should be attentive, raise their heads, and stop the texting or tweeting whilst riding the CTA. The fact of the matter is that this was a child, who was being attentive, with his head raised and eyes opened. Yet when considering that he was suddenly surrounded by a group of hoodlums, who ran from all directions to encompass him, it becomes a bit more clear that this was not a matter of attentiveness but rather one of helplessness and insecurity. The fact that this robbery occurred in broad day-light on the street, in Oak Park no less, further highlights that point.

    I understand one may worry about the repercussions of stopping or interfering with a crime. Yet if that is applicable to you, then do NOT work as a SECURITY GUARD. Find another profession if you cannot fulfill the duties designated by your title.

    This story was not intended to highlight the crime as much as it was aimed to bring attention to the incompetency of the security guards working for the CTA. It is upsetting to imagine that in his time of need, a child was ignored. There was a phone available in the security booth. This is a fact. The guard did not want the hassle, and for this I do blame her.

  • In reply to emma621:

    It's Becca, from Kevin's original post here. I've actually been really surprised by the number of comments I've received on other Websites, Twitter, Facebook and my blog from people reporting similar experiences. I didn't realize it was so common.

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