It appears to have been a busy night for 39-year old Alicia Hayes, who was arrested and charged with stealing 10 cell phones worth more than $5,000 from a Near North nightclub according to yesterday’s Chicago Tribune.
She managed to steal all the phones over a period of just few hours from patrons of the Castle Chicago Night Club, 632 N. Dearborn St., according to police.
How did Hayes manage to steal 10 cell phones without anyone catching her in the act?
1. The state of awareness of most cell phone owners is pretty low to begin with, add the lack of focus brought on by a few drinks and it is easy to see how it could occur.
2. Most nightclubs are dark and crowded making it easy for thieves to get up close without the victims taking much notice.
3. Victims may have been having such a good time they didn’t even notice their phone was missing until she was long gone.
According to Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Michael Sullivan, an 18th District officer was flagged down by a female patron at about 4:15 a.m. and the woman told the officer that her iPhone had been stolen. The officer used the Find my iPhone app to track the woman’s phone.
CNET says the Find My iPhone app works on iOS devices and requires an iCloud account and a valid Apple ID. When turned on, Find My iPhone sends the geolocation data of your device to the servers at regular intervals, allowing you to find your phone from any other device you can log into (including Web browsers). Find My iPhone is installed by default with iOS 5 and 6, but must be turned on to be active.
The tech-savvy officer was able to see that the phone was a little over a mile away and apparently traveling in a vehicle. Officers responded and pulled over the vehicle on the 1500 block of North LaSalle with two women inside, and found the original victim’s phone along with nine other phones police said.
Ayesha Hayes, of the 8800 block of South Colfax Avenue, was charged with felony theft and was ordered held on $200,000 bail on Monday by Circuit Court Judge Donald Panarese Jr. According to court records, Hayes has an extensive criminal history for theft.
What can you do to prevent your cell phone from being robbed?
1. Be on guard when using your phone at restaurants, bars, clubs and especially when traveling on public transportation.
2. When not using your phone put it away where it can’t be seen. Do not leave your phone lying out on a bar, table or on top of an open handbag.
3. Think of your phone as the amount of cash it would take to replace it. If you were carrying $500.00 in cash around with you would you be holding it in your hand for everyone to see? Would you leave it sitting on a bar, a table in a restaurant, or the counter in a store?
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