By Calvin at 11:16 GMT, 9 years ago
On 29th January this year at 7.35pm a 28 year-old man was talking to his mate on his iPhone while waiting for a bus near East Ham police station. He finished the call and was just about to put the phone back into his pocket when a thief snatched it from his hand and ran off. The victim gave chase and in spite of being obstructed by an accomplice he still managed to detain the thief. At this point the thief threw the phone to the other guy who made off with it. In spite of this the unidentified victim still managed to hold onto the thief until police arrived.
The Newham Recorder, who covered this story yesterday, interviewed a local policeman who praised the man’s actions, but at the same time advised others not to follow this man’s example. He also warned others to be aware of who’s in the vicinity and not to openly advertise your stuff.
On the face of it, all fair words from the police, but in reality they aren’t going to make much difference.
First of all, mobile phones are just that; they’re mobile! They’ve been designed to be used whenever and wherever and consequently people will use them at bus stops, outside railway stations, in nightclubs, standing in Sainsbury’s and whilst walking down the street. And why shouldn’t they? The real thing that’s wrong is an inability to render them utterly useless for resale. Yes, we know they can be blocked, but they can also be unblocked (a criminal offence) and as yesterday’s story from LV= demonstrates (see below) these smartphones end up in Africa, Asia and Europe where they sell for a small fortune. So I’m looking to the manufacturers to do something about it, so we can use these devices without fear of being robbed in the street.
Until that time happens I would however agree with the police and would urge you to take care and always be aware of who might be around you when you’re holding 400 quid in your hand (average black market value).
But what about chasing after the suspect? Should this guy have done it for the sake of a mobile phone? Well, I most certainly would have done the same thing, but probably wouldn’t have been able to catch the guy up! The reality is that we’re all different and some of us freeze in these situations, some of us flee and some of us fight; and that’s simply human nature (do you remember the 2011 video of the elderly lady bashing the jewellery shop robbers with her handbag – wonderful!!). So, there is no point advising victims not to do something that comes naturally to them as it won’t make any difference.
I for one want to shake that man by his hand and say “well done, good for you!” And while I’m at it I hate this phrase ‘have-a-go hero’ as it always shares a sentence that includes the words ‘but we wouldn’t advise other people to do this’ or ‘it’s not worth risking your life for a such-and-such’. Victims will react automatically and if they do ‘have-a-go’ they should be praised and thanked – period!
I shall now go and lie down
Keep ‘em peeled!
Northampton robbery video http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/feb/07/woman-robbers-handbag