The frightening theft comes as the neighboring 110th Precinct reported a spike in the number of iPhone thefts this year, driven in part by "kids" who are looking for the "cool factor" that the smartphone imparts.
The 15-year-old victim was walking on 97th Street near Astoria Boulevard at about 10:30 p.m., police said, when she was approached by the three men. They told her to hand over her iPhone and said they would shoot her if she did not cooperate, but did not flash a gun.
The girl complied, and the suspects fled on foot. An anti-theft app on the iPhone, however, snapped a photo of one of the suspects.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS (8477). Members of 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 entering TIP577.