She never saw it coming — but now she’s sounding the alarm.
Park Sloper Alex Beers became the latest victim of a new breed of criminal — the silent iPhone thief — when a bike-riding bandit snatched the popular Apple device right out of her hand as she was talking on it.
But now the mother of two, whose iPhone was stolen on Dec. 14 on St. Johns Place in Park Slope, has gone public to educate the public about this growing threat.
“People need to know that when they are on that phone, they simply won’t know if they are about to be robbed,” she said. “In my case, I never heard a thing.”
Beers told The Brooklyn Paper that she talking on her iPhone as she walked on the block between Seventh and Eighth avenues at around 1:30 pm. Beers’s conversation with her mom so engrossed her that even in the afternoon quiet of a Brownstone Brooklyn block, she did not hear the sound of a thief on a bicycle gliding slowly towards her.
Within seconds, the brigand had approached, roughly grabbed the phone from her hand, and pedaled away — and he was long gone before Beers could even fully understand what had just happened.
“At first, I thought something had fallen from a tree and hit me,” she said. “My glasses fell off from the force of him grabbing the phone. The impact was very rough because he was going so fast.
“But the main problem was that I was on the phone in the first place,” she said.
The NYPD does not keep specific stats about iPhone thefts because property such as a phone or the contents of a backpack are all lumped in together in data about muggings. But The Brooklyn Paper’s popular Police Blotter shows that Beers is one of an increasing number of iPhone owners who have learned the painful truth that the only way to protect their mobile phone is to not use the phone while they’re mobile.
The Blotter is filled virtually every week with crimes quite similar to the one perpetrated on Beers:
• Dec. 8: Thugs choked a man while he was on his phone on Norman Avenue in Greenpoint, getting the phone and fleeing before he could see them.
• Nov. 24: A thief took advantage of a man immersed in an e-book on his iPhone at the corner of DeKalb and Washington avenues. It is unclear what story was so engrossing.
• Nov. 21: Two brigands smacked a man in the back of the head, stealing with his iPhone at the corner of Lafayette Avenue and St. James Place.
• Nov. 5: A 16-year-old subway mugger ripped a phone out of a woman’s hand near the Broadway and Marcy Avenue J train station.
• Oct. 21: A man had the phone taken from his hand at the corner of Fourth Avenue and First Street in Park Slope.
• Oct. 19: A bike-riding thief swiped a woman’s iPhone at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Ninth Street in Park Slope.
• Sept. 23: A speedy thief swiped the Apple phone out of a man’s hand as he sat on a bench at the corner of Seventh Avenue and First Street in Park Slope.
• Sept. 21: A thief grabbed the smartphone out of a woman’s hand on Lincoln Place near Seventh Avenue in Park Slope.
• Aug. 17: A swift-moving criminal made off with a woman’s iPhone on S. Fourth Street near Bedford Avenue.
•July 15: A thief moved in quickly when he spotted a woman typing away on the device as she walked on 10th Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues.
July 10: An iPhone was taken from a woman’s hand on Warren Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues.
•July 8: A hoodlum in Fort Greene Park sneaked up from behind and stunned an iPhone user with a blow to the head before taking the phone.
• June 3: Two perps grabbed a 30-year-old Williamsburger’s iPhone as he walked to a cafe near Devoe and Leonard streets.
• Feb. 10: Two teen crooks grabbed an iPhone from a 20-year-old at Bedford Avenue and N. Seventh Street in Williamsburg.
• Feb. 9: A pedestrian had his iPhone in his hand near the corner of Fulton and South Oxford streets in Fort Green when a man swiped it.
And those are just the crimes involving iPhones stolen from people as they used them. There are many other thefts of iPhones that were in bags or pockets — and there have been dozens more thefts of other smartphones.
At this point, Beers is a changed woman now that she no longer owns one of Steve Jobs’s mini-computers.
“I’m going to multi-task less,” she said. “I should have just been enjoying my walk rather than talking on a phone.”