Cell phone thieves target gridlocked drivers

The Chicago Police Department released a statement last week warning drivers to be on the lookout for cell-phone thieves snatching phones out of cars stuck in heavy traffic.

According to WLS-TV, the CPD is warning Chicago residents to watch out for clever cell-phone thieves preying on drivers stuck in the city's notoriously bad traffic. The thieves usually work in pairs, with one distracting a driver–by knocking on the driver's window or pretending to hand out flyers–while his partner opens the passenger door and snatches the phone out of the car's center console or wherever else the driver may have left it.

A motorist named T.J. who was reluctant to give WLS-TV his last name, recently shared a dashcam video with reporters that shows just how quickly these phone-nappers can ruin a commuter's day.

Late last month, T.J. was stopped at a light near North Michigan Avenue and East Wacker Drive when a young man crossed the street in front of him. Instead of completing his crossing, the young man approached T.J.'s car and knocked on the driver's window. As T.J. was distracted, a second individual whipped open his passenger door, snatched his phone, and the duo fled the scene.

"Annoyed, you know. I fell for it," said T.J. "I'm a pretty vigilant person. I'm always watching around my surroundings, especially in the downtown area. I was really in shock, like, it happened. Like, 'Oh my God, I can't believe it happened to me.'"

T.J. told WLS-TV that he hopes the video will serve as a warning to other drivers and will help them avoid his fate.

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