The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Police Release Video of Suspected Picky iPhone Mugger

By Della Hasselle | December 14, 2011 8:36am

MANHATTAN — Police released video of a picky iPhone mugger suspected of targeting students near Columbia University.

The alleged smartphone thief, along with another suspect, are wanted for three robberies in which victims were attacked for their iPhones, the NYPD said.

Demand for the pricey devices has been so high that in one of the alleged robberies, after the vicim handed over another type of smartphone, the suspect returned it in disgust. 

During a Nov. 21 incident, a 24-year-old female student was walking with a friend on West 114th near Amsterdam Avenue when one of the suspects grabbed her, slammed her against a fence and threatened to beat her up if she didn't hand over her iPhone, police said.

Surveillance video from that day shows one of the suspects walking down the street wearing blue jeans, a dark puffy jacket and a cap. 

In an incident earlier that month, one of the suspects followed a student into the lobby of a brownstone on the same street, pulled a gun and demanded the student's iPhone, police said.

The suspect, who was armed with a silver handgun, was offered another type of smartphone from the victim but refused to accept it, DNAinfo reported.

Campus security later determined that the same suspect was spooked from another attempted robbery minutes earlier in a nearby building, sources said.

The earliest incident occurred on Oct. 25, when both suspects, armed with a box-cutter, approached a 20-year-old man and threatened him for his iPhone, police said.

The victim, accompanied by a friend, handed over his iPhone and fled.

The first suspect is described as standing between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-10, and weighing 150 to 170 pounds, police said. The second suspect is described as standing 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-8, and weighing 150 to 180 pounds. Both suspects are described as being in their early 30s.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers' website or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577.