Spike Seen in Thefts of Unattended iPhones at NYC Bars

By Gus Rosendale
|  Friday, Mar 8, 2013  |  Updated 9:35 AM EDT
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Reports of iPhone thefts have spiked across the city, but it appears to be in nightclub and bar-packed neighborhoods where victims more frequently pay a hefty cost for a moment of distraction. Gus Rosendale reports.

Reports of iPhone thefts have spiked across the city, but it appears to be in nightclub and bar-packed neighborhoods where victims more frequently pay a hefty cost for a moment of distraction. Gus Rosendale reports.

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Reports of iPhone thefts have spiked across the city, but it appears to be in nightclub and bar-packed neighborhoods where victims more frequently pay a hefty cost for a moment of distraction. 

In the Sixth Precinct, which encompasses both Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District, grand larceny cases have jumped 42 percent compared to the same time last year, according to police data. Most of the thefts have occurred during nightlife hours in a prime destination for tourists and New Yorkers.

Deanna Fleming of the West Village said she has been one of those unlucky victims. A thief once went into her purse while she was out, stealing her phone and wallet.

"I've been pickpocketed before, so now I'm a little more protective," she said.

But other neighbors and bargoers in the Sixth Precinct, dismissed concerns, even while recognizing the growing problem.

"I understand iPhone theft is an issue, but I leave it on the bar," admitted Melinda Winter, who lives in the Meatpacking District.

According to police, when customers like Winter leave their expensive phones unattended in bars and on restaurant tables, they may present a crime of opportunity too irresistible for would-be thieves nearby. The phones cost upward of $500 and have a decent resale value, according to police. 

Violent crime numbers have also seen an increase in the Sixth Precinct, though a part of that spike was linked to a single case on MacDougal Street near NYU in January, when seven people were attacked with bats.

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