Mobile phone thief drops handset in attempted mugging

Moment thief on a bicycle snatches phone from man’s hand – but fumbles and smashes it on the ground

  • A mobile phone thief targeted a pedestrian near Old Street in east London 
  • The bicycle riding thief scoped out the victim who was looking at his phone 
  • The thief fumbled the phone during the theft attempt dropping it on the ground 

This is the shocking moment a man looking at his phone in east London is mugged by a youth riding a bicycle. 

The victim, identified only as Max, was standing staring at his phone screen yesterday morning near Old Street roundabout when the felon struck. 

CCTV footage shows a bicycle ride slowly along the road while the rider scopes out his potential victim. 

The victim was looking at his phone on the pavement a short distance from Old Street roundabout in north London on March 16

The mugger can be seen pulling onto the pavement on his bicycle behind the pedestrian 

The man was oblivious to the approaching mugger who reached out and snatched the phone 

The thief rode off at speed but fumbled the phone and dropped it into the gutter where the screen smashed 

Apparently deciding the man was an easy mark, the thief pulled onto the pavement and looped round before riding at speed towards his victim. 

The thief successfully grabbed the handset from the man’s hand but dropped it as his victim began to chase after him.

The rider continued his escape, ignoring the smashed handset which Max retrieved. 

A witness told MailOnline: ‘The incident happened around 9.19am on East Road, just before Old Street roundabout. 

The witness said there had been other incidents involving thieves on bikes in the area and called on the police to clamp down on them. 

They added: ‘I have spoken to the police about this on Twitter DM however I explained to them it was my opinion that it seems they have no interest in this type of crime.

‘It would be so easy for them to catch these thieves as it is happening on a regular basis in our area. 

‘They asked me to ask the victim to contact them. The guy who owned the phone, Max, was fine apart from the shock.

‘The thief didn’t manage to hold onto the phone and dropped it, Max retrieved his phone however the screen was smashed.’ . 

MailOnline has approached the Metropolitan Police for a comment. 

A witness said the victim Max, pictured right, was able to recover his phone but the screen was smashed

Met Police provides advice on avoiding mobile phone theft 

The Met Police said mobile phone theft is a major problem in London with thousands of devices taken each year. 

Traditionally, thieves would pickpocket their victims or use table surfing. 

However, over the past couple of years the number of thefts involving criminals using mopeds or bicycles has increased dramatically. 

The Met advises mobile phone users to be aware of their surroundings to reduce the chance of having their handset stolen, especially in high threat areas. 

According to Scotland Yard: 

  • If you need to call or use your phone on the street, look out for anyone on a bike or a moped near you. Look up, look out
  • Make it quick so you don’t become distracted
  • Don’t text while you’re walking – you won’t notice what’s going on around you
  • If that’s not possible, stand away from the roadside, close to a building or wall, so no one can come up behind you
  • Going hands-free can prevent a thief from snatching your phone out of your hand

Scotland Yard insists it has a specialist team, Operation Venice, tasked with targeting moped and bicycle crime. 

They are also monitoring stores that sell secondhand electronics to prevent them from dealing in stolen phones.   

The areas around Camden, Islington, Westminster, Hackney and Haringey have the biggest problems of mobile phone theft. 

Other advice includes: 

  • You must switch on your phone’s security features to protect your phone
  • Use the keypad lock so that thieves cannot immediately access your phone, or use the biometric authentication if your phone has it (finger print or facial recognition)
  • Your phone may have other security features you can use – these could allow you to wipe data, lock your handset, or prevent a thief from restoring a phone to its factory settings from another internet device
  • Consider installing an anti-theft app. These can be an effective way of helping police trace your phone and identify the thief

Source: Metropolitan Police 

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