Police look for pair snatching phones from owners’ hands

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published September 9, 2013

Three phone thefts have been reported in Pleasant Ridge on Pinecrest Drive, which turns into Ridge Road, in the past four to six weeks, with the most recent occurring Aug. 30. Police believe two suspects are involved, with one getting out on foot to steal the phone and the other driving the car eastbound out of town after the crime.

PLEASANT RIDGE — A series of phone snatchings has Pleasant Ridge police on alert after the third incident in about a month’s time occurred Aug. 30. Police are asking residents for help with any information that anyone may have on the crimes.

According to reports, the suspects are following victims they spot who are walking and using their phones while leaving Ferndale on Pinecrest Drive, which turns into Ridge Road once the victims and suspects get into Pleasant Ridge at Oakridge Boulevard.

At that point, one of the suspects gets out of the car and follows behind the walking victim as the other suspect drives the car ahead of the victim. The first suspect then runs up, grabs the phone and jumps in the car as they drive away from the crime scene, reportedly heading eastbound.

“People who are walking with their phones have had them taken out of their hands, and the guys have taken off,” Pleasant Ridge officer Glenn Fearn said. “We think (the victims) have been followed out of Ferndale up into our city when the phone is taken, and then the suspects jump in the car and flee.”

Fearn described the person taking the phone in the incidents as a black man in his 20s who is about 6 feet tall with a slim build. The car is described as red or maroon in color, but none of the three victims has been able to get a license plate number.

Fearn said it is not definite that the same two suspects have done the three phone snatchings, but physical descriptions and car descriptions have been similar in all three incidents. An iPhone has also been taken in each of the three thefts.

The biggest challenge in catching the suspects, Fearn said, has been a lack of notice when the thefts occur.

“If this happens again, if someone could get a plate (number) on the car, it would be great,” he said. “But we have also had delay in contacting us because the person’s phone has just been stolen, with this last one notifying us almost 24 hours later. People need to call us as soon as possible; go to the nearest house and knock and ask to use their phone.”

With the three crimes occurring about four to six weeks apart, Fearn said he has been watching the way people have used their phones while walking on the sidewalks. While he keeps his phone in his pocket unless a call comes in, he said that is not the case for residents and kids alike.

“I have actually watched people, and they are just staring at their phones,” Fearn said. “Kids walk out of high school, and they have their phones right in front of them as they are walking along. There have been injuries to people who are walking and texting at the same time, or they walk into traffic. People need to try and hide their phone unless it is needed.”

Officer Robert Reid said the department does not have any leads yet, but they want residents to be mindful when walking, especially along Pinecrest and Ridge Road.

“Pleasant Ridge police ask that you call us anytime you see any suspicious cars or people,” Reid said. “And be aware of your surroundings when out walking or jogging.”

The Pleasant Ridge police can be contacted at (248) 541-2900.