What to Know
A thief made off with an 11-year-old boy’s cell phone after threatening to hurt him if he didn’t delete the phone’s contents, police said
The boy was riding a southbound D train around 1:10 p.m. on Sunday when the thief started chatting with him, the NYPD said
At some point during their conversation, the thief threatened to hurt the boy if he didn’t erase everything on his iPhone 6, police said
A thief made off with an 11-year-old boy’s cell phone after threatening to hurt him if he didn’t delete the phone’s contents, police said.
The boy was riding a southbound D train around 1:10 p.m. on Sunday when the thief started talking to him, the NYPD said.
"He came up to me and said, 'Hey, I'm going to be your little buddy today. Be quiet,'" the boy recounted to News 4 New York on Thursday.
The man wouldn't let him get off the train at the stop he was intended to, the boy said. The suspect started asking the trapped boy about what he had in his pockets. The boy said he didn't have much, but the man spotted the iPhone 6 in his jeans and demanded he turn it on and erase everything. He also told the boy he'd been shot several times in an effort to intimidate him.
"When I tried to look at his face, he said, 'Don't look at me, look at the window,'" said the boy.
The boy deleted everything from his phone, and the thief fled the train with the boy’s phone at the Fordham Road station in the Bronx, police said.
"Thanks for the phone, kid," the thief said before absconding with the device.
Scared and now phoneless, the boy screamed for help, and a bystander tried to chase down the man but wasn't fast enough.
The boy said he got the iPhone 6S last year for his birthday.
"Why would a grown man steal a little kid's phone? I'm innocent," he told News 4.
On Thursday, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea took to Twitter to ask for the public's help catching the thief.
"Who'd rob an 11-year-old kid? This guy! He must have forgotten that we — the NYPD partnered with a city 8.5 million strong — will not tolerate this kind of behavior," he wrote. "Help us get justice for one of our city's young people."
Shea told NBC 4 New York he's certain that someone will be able to identify the thief.
"No doubt in my mind somebody knows him. Somebody watched him grow up on the block, knows what he's about, and I'll guarantee this wasn't the first time he's done this, and we'll get him," he said.
Anyone with information about the identity of the thief is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.