Arrest made in string of iPhone thefts

The Metropolitan Police Department said it made a key arrest in late July concerning an uptick in iPhone thefts, and police said the suspect could be linked to other iPhone thefts in the area.

MPD Commander Matthew Klein told The Hatchet that the suspect – who was involved in a recent iPhone theft – is being held and detectives are trying to link him to a string of other iPhone thefts.

On July 19, Klein had alerted 2nd District residents to the most recent spike in iPhone thefts over the previous weekend, saying there were at least six street robberies in which the victim was talking on an iPhone when it was snatched from their hands.

Klein said the 2nd District had experienced “a series of iPhone robberies over the past several months.”

In May, crime reports showed a growing trend of robberies involving iPhones. The latest version of Apple Inc.’s iPhone, the iPhone 4, was released June 24, however it isn’t known what models of the device were stolen in the most recent string of robberies.

Between May 15 and Aug. 15, 828 cases of theft were reported in the 2nd District – where GW’s Mount Vernon and Foggy Bottom campuses are located – a nearly 15 percent increase from the same time period last year.

The total number of robberies, of all types, during the same time period this year is up almost 19 percent compared to the same time a year ago.

Klein said, however, the number of robberies in the area has decreased significantly this August, “by nearly 80 [percent] overall.”

Klein advised students returning to the University this fall to always walk confidently and with others when on campus or around the city, to travel in well-lit areas and keep valuables out of sight.

“Criminals are opportunists and are constantly on the lookout for an easy grab,” Klein said. “It’s up to all of us to make it difficult for them.”

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard advises students to keep valuable items out of sight in residence halls and to always lock the door to residence hall rooms, whether or not a student is in the room at the time.

Sherrard added that students should not allow strangers to follow them into buildings, and should report any suspicious persons to University Police.

Students are also advised to program emergency contact numbers into their phones and to sign up for GW Alerts and Alert D.C., two early reporters of emergencies. u

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