A former student has spoken out about becoming a victim of iPhone bicycle muggers.
Last week The Evening Standard revealed that 170 iPhones are being stolen every day in London with pedestrians being targeted by muggers on bicycles.
Ellie Buchdahl, 24, from Stockwell, had just had a quiet dinner with some friends at Pizza Express when the attack took place.
“I was texting with one hand when I came to a crossing,” she said. “I looked up to check if there were any cars and started to cross when a man on a bike cut me up, nearly knocking me down.”
He cycled off but the thief quickly doubled back, grabbing the iPhone 4S from her hand.
“I chased him up the street in my Ugg boots shouting ‘Stop thief’ but there was no way I could get him, he was going too quickly.
"It just makes you feel so stupid. I wasn’t physically hurt, but my pride was.”
Police say iPhones, that are worth £400, now make up more than half of all mobile phone thefts in the capital.
In the same period a total of 56,680 mobiles were stolen in London, or around 337 a day.
Thieves are also targeting people with Blackberry phones and other popular makes such as Samsung.
Some affluent neighbourhoods have seen a massive rise in the number of smartphones and other handheld gadgets swiped by cycling thieves.
As she doesn’t have insurance, Ellie, an online journalist, is now using an old phone for the remainder of her new 18-month contract but says that it isn’t just the cost of the handset that makes the experience so devastating. Her phone was only two weeks old and she had not set a pin number yet.
She said: “You have everything on your iPhone. Your Twitter, Facebook, Email. I had just sent an email to a visiting friend telling her my address. I was terrified the thief would see it.
“With iPhone a lot of your stuff is in the cloud. So that’s good. But the thought that this person could access all of my information. It just feels so invasive.”
Now police are issuing warnings to commuters and pedestrians around hotspots such as Tube stations where the number of muggings has rocketed in places by up to 400 per cent in a year.
In recent weeks police have handed out leaflets around Warwick Avenue tube station while there have also been reports of spates of bicycle muggings in Primrose Hill, Islington, Stoke Newington, Chancery Lane and Clapham.
Last week a detective constable collapsed and died as she was chasing two bicycle thieves who had snatched an iPhone from a woman in Belsize Park.
DC Adele Cashman, 30, collapsed in the street as she chased the pair and died later in hospital.
Two 17-year-olds appeared in court on Wednesday and were given six month referral orders after admitting snatching the phone from a woman who was sitting on a bench in Haverstock Hill checking her emails.
The surge mirrors a similar trend in New York where police report that thefts of iPhones and iPads are soaring by 40 per cent.
In the US police officers are being stationed at stores to register the serial numbers of devices along with people’s names and contact information.
In London police have been issued with iPads so they can use satellite tracking apps to trace stolen handsets.
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