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MPD Issues Info on Recent Smart Phone Robbery Tactics

by Prince Of Petworth December 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm 20 Comments

From MPD:

“Back in September we advised the 1D community about a particular tactic that was being used by individuals attempting to steal smart phones. Subsequent to posting that information, we noticed a decline in this particular tactic. This may have just been a coincidence, but we believe the decline may also be related to the community being made aware of current trends and patterns. In an effort to make the community aware of current trends, we are posting the below three tactics being used by individuals attempting to snatch smart phones.

· Suspect approaches a potential victim and ask for the time, when the victim pulls out their phone to tell the suspect the time, the phone is snatched from the complainant’s hand.

· Suspect will approach a potential victim and ask for directions to a particular location out of the immediate area. When the victim take out their phone and look the location up for the suspect, the perpetrator will ask to see the map on the phone at which time they snatch the phone and flee.

· Suspect will approach a potential victim and ask to use their phone to call home, usually say they need to call their parents. When the victim complies with the request, the suspect runs off with the victim’s phone.

This is obviously not a complete list of tactics, but they are some of the trends we have noted in the last few months. Please remember to call 911 whenever you observe any suspicious activity or suspicious persons.”

  • Anonymous

    Combating the three tactics:

    1) Wear a watch

    2) If you know the location, point them in the right direction. If you don’t know the location, tell them you’re sorry, but you don’t know

    3) Don’t be that gullible

    • ash

      Combating the three tactics:

      Ignore them and keep walking.

      • DF

        Why is it so hard for folks to ignore or say “I’m sorry I can’t help you” when any of these requests come up? I’ve had quite a few folks as me for the time. You obviously don’t see a watch on my wrist…. so? Yeah, not pulling my phone out.

        • Anonymous

          Some of us aren’t natural liars and have a natural inclination to want to help people.

          • Nathan

            @ Anonymous And as it relates to this story , urban residents would call you not street smart and a walking target.

    • Anonymous

      This is pretty easy. Just profile the person who is asking. The Mitt Romney look-alike stepping out of a cab in a nice suit on K street and asking you the way to Smith and Wollensky is not going to rob your phone :)

  • Orson Buggy

    Addition ways to combat the tactics:

    1) set up a sundial
    2) direct them to the near police station
    3) give them 50 cents and tell them to use a pay phone

    • 1) it’s 6:30 pm in December durrrr

      2) you know the closest precinct to every metro station? Creep

      3) what’s a pay phone?

  • A random large guy actually tried the “what’s the time” thing on me the other night on my way to a movie screening, just in front of The Big Creek Cafe on Georgia Ave in SS. It’s actually thanks to this blog that I recognized that as a regular tactic and just kept walking.

  • djs

    People used to try the “call home” on me all the time when I lived near Potomac Gardens. These were generally worse-for-wear, middle aged people. I always wondered how they planned to get away- maybe they had a weapon to pull if you chased them? Or an accomplice nearby who they could throw it to? It’s a mystery.

    • Anonymous

      I think the answer to the mystery is that they’re not trying to rob you.

  • Anonymous

    i should be allowed to hand my $800 smart phone to a random on the street who needs to call his buddy. saying i shouldn’t do this amounts to blaming the victim IMO.

    • kyle-w

      You can call it that I suppose. Back in the real world, I would call it advice to not get your phone stolen.

      • Anonymous

        stop blaming the victim!

  • Anonymous

    The bigger problem is the countless number of people walking around, zombie-like, looking down at their iPhones without any consciousness of the world around them. These are the easiest victims, I’d guess. I find it shocking that so many allegedly well-educated people are so unaware of their surroundings. I hate to say it, but they practically deserve what they have coming to them, for being so oblivious. These are the same folks who are so quick to blame the authorities, as if they are entitled to some sort of police escort when they aren’t paying attention.

    • Anonymous

      Don’t blame the victim. I shouldn’t have to pay attention to avoid bad things happening to me.

      • Anonymous

        Then you should stay far, far away from crosswalks, power tools, butter knives, and cliffs.

        • Anonymous

          Trust me, I stay as far away from things as possible but sometimes they come near me.

      • Anonymous

        How many times have you been hit by a car?

  • Nathan

    It absolutely amazes me that anyone would do any of the three in an attempt to “help” someone. To a street smart person all three of those are just giant red flags.


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