Thieves Target Cell Phone-Carrying Pedestrians In Manchester, NH

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV

MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) — Pedestrians carrying cell phones are becoming crime victims in downtown Manchester.

“He just ripped it out of my ear,” said an 18-year-old victim named Natalee, who doesn’t want her last name used.

Manchester Police say there have been six incidents in just the last several days in the downtown area.

Typically a suspect approaches from behind and snatches the phone. In other cases they ask someone if they can make a quick call, and then they run away with the phone.

People who live, work, or enjoy the downtown area are concerned about the surge in this type of crime.

“It’s actually really scary,” said Norri Oberlander who works on Elm Street. “I run my entire business on my cell phone.”

So far nobody has been hurt, but police are worried an encounter could turn violent.

In one case, a 16-year-old girl was riding a scooter when someone grabbed her phone from her hand.

Manchester police say the suspects seem to be older teenagers in some of the cases.

Despite the frightening encounter, Natalee says she did see the good in people when many came to her rescue.

“I screamed for help three times,” said Natalee who blew a whistle she carries for safety.” I blew it about 12 times and people came running. They all ran after him, every single one of them.”

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