KALAMAZOO, MI — Another cell phone was snatched from the hands of a user downtown by a person who fled on a bicycle, and police have repeated their warning to distracted phone users– pay attention to your surroundings.
At shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, Kalamazoo Public Safety Officers were called to Kalamazoo Mall and Michigan Avenue where a woman told them that she was approached by three males on bicycles and as they rode by one male took the cell phone right out of her hand as she was using it.
Teens steal Michigan woman’s phone while she plays pokemon goThe incident was captured by several cameras downtown and a description was immediately put out for the suspects.
The three suspects were located near the intersection of West Paterson and Douglas, but they fled from police.
Two of the three were located and arrested, the victim’s cell phone was recovered, and so was a realistic facsimile of a hand gun.
The two suspects were lodged on charges of larceny from a person and resisting and obstructing police. The third suspect in this case was also identified and charges are being sought for his arrest.
It is the second time this week that a cell phone has been grabbed by a bicyclist.
On Sunday, July 10, Katie Erickson, 25, was playing Pokemon Go downtown when her phone was taken by a kid on a bike, who fled with two girls, also on bikes, she said.
In her case, the phone’s GPS tracking allowed its retrieval from police, and the boy was lodged in the Kalamazoo County Juvenile home.
“I had my phone in both hands, at (the corner of ) South Street and Kalamazoo Mall, and he rolled up, took the phone, said ‘thank you’ and took off.
She and several people on foot chased the group on bicycles but were unable to catch them.
She said the incident was shocking to her, and she warned other who have been caught up in the fun of Pokemon Go, an outdoor game that requires studying a phone or tablet for directions, to play in groups and to be mindful of surroundings. “It’s hard while you are playing to also be aware of your surroundings, but keep looking up,” she advised.
Victor G. Ledbetter, Captain of KDPS Criminal Investigations Division, said Thursday’s victim was not playing Pokemon but she was texting, and was oblivious to her surroundings.
“It appears kids are taking advantage of those who are not focusing on their surroundings by making them victims of snatch and grabs,” Ledbetter said. Promptly calling police and giving detailed descriptions has allowed for the victim’s property to be returned and the suspects to be apprehended, he said.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of people to be aware of their surroundings.”
Rosemary Parker is a reporter for MLive. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.