Monday, March 8, 2010
I wanted to tell you about my experience the other weekend on Metro for two reasons.
First, to help others use this as a wake-up call to be more aware of what's going on and who is around them. I wish I had been.
I also want WMATA to admit there is a pattern of iPhone snatches so they can stop it.
There is a ring of criminals who are targeting iPhones. They aren't taking purses or other items.
I boarded the Orange Line toward Vienna at Metro Center. I was seated near the door by myself, and there were many passengers scattered throughout the train.
The chime indicated the doors were closing at Farragut West, and in the blink of an eye, an African American male with dreadlocks, a cap and hoodie came from my left and grabbed my iPhone.
I was texting or reading an email.
We struggled, but he ended up outside the train as it pulled away. He ended up with just my iPhone, but he nearly ripped off my arm to go with it.
I realized immediately it was well planned, and he must have been watching me for some time.
The other passengers were as shocked as I was, and we hit the emergency call button.
Transit police and a station master met me at Foggy Bottom. They were compassionate and attentive in their response.
I had the GPS tracker enabled on my phone, so I know it traveled to New York Ave. within an hour of the snatch. It appeared to be there a while, although I suspect the SIM chip had been removed.
I know Metro doesn't want to publicize their crime rates and targeted snatches like this, but perhaps it would be a good distraction from their safety issues.
I take responsibility for not being aware of my surroundings enough to prevent this, but I hold WMATA responsible for not developing a strategy or plan to break up this crime ring.
The WMATA Web site has a 'police blotter' that hasn't been updated since Jan. 10. It's called "weekly" so I assume it is supposed to be updated weekly. Well, it has been nearly two months!
I emailed and asked how to receive an updated copy since it should be public record. If victims had a way to share stories, perhaps the pieces of similar crimes could be patched together to help apprehend the criminals.
WMATA is more worried about terrorist drills while unsuspecting riders are victimized by our own local criminals. I realize the crime rate is probably low relatively low when calculated at a ridership level, but it doesn't matter how low the rate is when it happens to you and there's an obvious ring of criminals doing the same crime over and over again.
Transit police finally called me to follow up. The representative said iPhone snatching on Metro "a major problem.'"
I asked why the police blotter on their Web site hasn't been updated since Jan. 10, and he said he'd report it.
I emailed Metro about it three times with no response. I told them last email I was going to initiate a Freedom of Information Act request.
candacearm Sigh, bestie got jacked for her iphone on #wmata today. BE CAREFUL ladies. -these assholes have apparently become an epidemic lately
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Posted by Unsuck DC Metro at 8:10 AM