October 18th, 2012 | City

‘Apple picking’ thief strikes Chapel and High

YaleUniversity_RonnellHiggins
Photo by Yale University.

The Yale community may soon receive another message from Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins after a Wednesday night theft attempt broke out just hours after Higgins released an afternoon safety advisory on iPhone theft.

Dubbed “apple picking,” the new phenomenon has been on the rise as thieves target iPhone users for robbery attempts. But the trend struck a bit closer to home on Wednesday after a teenager snatched a woman’s iPhone out of her hand at the corner of Chapel and High streets shortly before 9 p.m. The perpetrator then ran from the scene toward York Street as the victim alerted the police, who later apprehended the thief outside York Street parking garage.

A passerby described the perpetrator as male and African-American, and estimated that he was between 15 and 17 years old. The witness added that the boy was not immediately pursued by the victim, though he said two other witnesses to the theft did give chase. By the time the boy reached York Street, the passerby said police cars were already arriving from both sides.

The cops were then able to catch the boy — who did not resist — and arrest him.

Yale Police Sergeant Keith Pullen said they currently have no information on the perpetrator’s or victim’s identities, adding that the perpetrator has not yet been formally charged. Pullen said the victim did not suffer any injuries and no weapons were displayed.

The incident added weight to Higgins’ cautionary advice to Yalies warning them to “be aware” of their surroundings when talking or texting.

“Displaying a phone is the same as displaying cash to a thief,” Higgins wrote.

The Yale Police Department has recently recovered several iPhones and iPads that had been stolen from their owners, Higgins said in his email.