Smartphone thief targeting pedestrians nabbed


Police on Wednesday night arrested an unemployed 37-year-old man suspected of stealing smartphones from individuals who use their mobile devices while walking (dubbed "smartphone walkers" by Japanese media).

Keiji Tanaka, a resident of Taito Ward, is suspected of stealing at least 12 smartphones from pedestrians near JR Uguisudani and Akihabara stations since Nov 13, TBS quoted police as saying.

According to police, Tanaka snatched a smartphone from an 18-year-old woman in Iriya at around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday. He was stopped by a police officer shortly after. When the police officer asked him about his smartphone, Tanaka said he had found it, TBS reported.

In the case of the earlier thefts, eyewitnesses said the perpetrator often wore sunglasses, a mask, a baseball or knit cap. He would ride up on a bike and then grab the phone out of the hands of the "smartphone walker."

As the proliferation of smartphones users has continued to explosively increase, so too have the issues surrounding individuals walking and using their phones simultaneously. Pedestrians glued to their phone screens are often oblivious of their surroundings causing them to frequently bump into other people, or even to drop their phones from train station platforms.

Police say such distracted individuals are an easy target for smartphone thieves and are asking residents within the greater metropolitan area to exercise caution on their day to day commutes.

© Japan Today

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What a dolt.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Phone snatching? I did see a shop selling used phones in Akihabara.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Im not sure if i should boo or cheer the guy. Toooooooo many people are walking with their eyes glued to their phonescreens nowadays.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

smartphone walker

duu duu daa!!!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I wonder how many people have the password access set permanently.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The walking brain-dead. A danger unto themselves.

But this guy is a loon.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hope smartphone walkers learn their lesson after this.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I hope smartphone walkers learn their lesson after this.

They won't because the thief has already been caught. The threat is over so they can resume their normal stupid practices.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I would think it would be easier to steal a wallet or purse, not the item upon which attention is focused.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would think it would be easier to steal a wallet or purse, not the item upon which attention is focused.

Think about which is held more firmly in the hand... a purse strap or a smartphone? Most people don't hold the smartphone firmly because then their fingers inadvertently touch parts of the screen they didn't intend to. Most people rest it in the palm of their hand or hold the edges by the fingertips. Someone on a bike would have much more success grabbing that phone and getting away than trying to grab a purse strap or figure out where the wallet is at.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This has got to be a pretty easy gig, come to think of it, they (we!) are zombies. But with all the GPS stuff etc, not sure if it is the smartest plan.

Also, MumbaiRocks has a very good point above. With all the attn focused on the phone, when grabbing a purse you would have an extra second or two to get away, and I bet sometimes would not even be noticed!

I shall endeavor to be extra careful when looking at my smaho from now on, and take care as to what I may be holding in my other hand!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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