On July 26, three uniformed San Diego police officers, their supervisor, and a detective responded to a theft report near Horton Plaza to investigate another in a series of ten to fifteen mobile-phone thefts in the past month.
They arrested a 16-year-old juvenile who is purportedly part of a gang that has been preying on owners of “smartphones,” primarily iPhones, mostly in the downtown/Horton Plaza area.
Operating in teams, one of the perpetrators asks to borrow a passerby’s cell phone to make a call, then flees with the phone while his comrades block, hold, or otherwise interfere to prevent the victim from pursuing the thief. On those occasions when there was a struggle for the phone, robbery and the threat of bodily harm resulted.
Sgt. Teresa Clark, one of the police officers on the scene of this incident, advised the public, “When you are walking around carrying cell phones or other electronic devices or putting them on a table, be aware of your surroundings to avoid theft and possible violence, and of course, don’t loan them to a stranger!”