BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Better keep an eye on your iPhone — or better yet, don’t keep an eye on your phone. Instead stick it in your pocket or handbag and pay attention to your surroundings.
An e-bike-riding bandit has been cycling around Downtown swiping iPhones out of the hands of young women, according to police. The incidents have ranged from Stuyvesant Town and the Lower East Side to the Upper West Side.
Video clips of several of the phone thefts. (N.Y.P.D.)
In each case the victim is strolling along the sidewalk with her cell phone in her hand when the pedaling perp rides up from behind, snatches the device and then throttles up his e-bike and speeds off. Sometimes, the startled victims try to run after him, but they never catch him. No injuries were reported in any of the incidents.
On Tues., June 28, around 1:35 a.m., a 21-year-old woman was victimized while walking in front of 435 E. 14th St., in Stuyvesant Town. The rolling robber made off with her iPhone with an attached wallet containing $10 cash, personal ID and a debit card. The suspect fled down Avenue A.
Just a bit later that same morning, around 2:15 a.m., the e-powered thief targeted a 30-year-old woman on the Lower East Side in front of 118 Orchard St., between Delancey and Rivington Streets. He fleeced her of her iPhone 11S, then sped away westbound on Rivington Street.
According to cops, the same suspect struck again later that same day around 11 p.m. on the Upper West Side, at Broadway and 63rd Sreet, stealing an iPhone Pro from a 32-year-old woman. He fled southbound on Central Park West.
The crime pattern’s next reported incident was on Sun., July 24, around 1 p.m., when the swiping cyclist set his sights on a 25-year-old woman walking in front of 237 W. 99th St., at Broadway. Pulling off another grab-and-go, he made away with her iPhone XS, fleeing northbound on Broadway.
Later that same day around 2:30 p.m., the cell snatcher returned to one of his favorite hunting grounds, Stuvyesant Town — brazenly striking right in the center of the private complex. Cops said that as the cyclist whizzed by 1 Stuyvesant Oval, he stole a 21-year-old woman’s iPhone 13 Pro right out of her hand. He then glided off on his e-bike, making his getaway southbound toward E. 14th Street.
Police describe the suspect as is in his 20s, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 140 pounds, with a thin build. In each incident he wore a blue face mask and rode an electric bicycle with a red Grub Hub bag — maybe for stashing the stolen phones — dangling from the handlebars.
In a separate crime pattern, police recently reported there was another bike-riding cell phone thief stalking the Downtown area, operating mainly around Washington Square. Cops said there were 10 reported incidents in that pattern, between Tues., July 12, and Sun., July 17, always at night, roughly between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 1:15 a.m.
Police ask that anyone with information call the N.Y.P.D.’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted on the Crime Stoppers Web site at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or on Twitter at @NYPDTips. Tips can result in cash rewards. All tips are strictly confidential.