MANHATTAN — Police are searching for a sticky-fingered smartphone thief wanted for a string of armed iPhone robberies on the Upper East Side.
The male suspect approached three people on the street with a handgun before demanding they hand over their pricey iPhones, the NYPD said.
In the first incident, on Nov. 24, the man approached a 47-year-old woman at Madison Avenue and East 70th Street about 10 p.m. armed with a gun and demanded her iPhone, police said.
On Nov. 26, the suspect approached a 36-year-old man at 930 Madison Ave., near East 74th Street, about 7:10 p.m. armed with a gun and demanded his iPhone, police said.
Then, on Dec. 3, the suspect approached a 22-year-old woman at 154 E. 70th St., near Lexington Avenue, just after midnight armed with a gun and demanded her iPhone, the NYPD said.
None of the victims were injured in the robberies, police added.
The muggings are eerily similar to a series of iPhone thefts on the Upper West Side near Columbia University, where a mugger has been targeting people with the prized devices, even turning down potential victims carrying Blackberries, according to police.
Police did not say whether the iPhone theft patterns were believed to be connected in any way.
The Upper East Side mugging suspect is described as approximately 20 years old, standing 5-foot-10-inches and weighing 170 pounds, police said. The Columbia University iPhone mugging suspect is described as being in his 30s and standing 5-foot-eight inches and weighing 160 pounds.
Cops are also seeking a second male suspect in the Upper East Side mugging spree who allegedly acted as a lookout during the incidents but was not armed.
The lookout suspect is described as approximately 17 years old and standing 5-foot-7-inches, police added.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577.