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TTC operator warns of uptick in cell phone thieves at Toronto subway stations

If there's anything as ubiquitous on Toronto's public transit system as drowsy, disconnected gazes, it's the mobile phones in front of those gazes, hanging out precariously in the hands of people who may or may not even really be awake right now.

When you think about it (as some local crooks have apparently been doing,) snatching someone's phone on the TTC doesn't seem like it would be too difficult — you could probably just walk up, pluck one from the loose grip of an inattentive individual and run away while they're still in shock.

Doing so would be illegal, of course, and really very cruel, but it happens. And transit staff say it's been happening more often than usual in recent weeks.

"Hello everyone. I am a TTC operator. Just wanted to make a PSA," reads a Reddit post published on Tuesday. "Over the last two weeks there have been cell phone thieves on the loose. It's been happening a lot more lately."

The operator cites recent incidents at King Station, Union Station and Bloor Station, noting that thieves "usually coordinate very well" to pull off their phone robberies.

"They snatch your phone and leave the train just as the doors close," noted the operator. "Please don't expect a TTC employee to go chasing after the person as we are not supposed to. We only observe and report."

The operator is urging everyone using transit to be mindful of their surroundings and to "please be careful out there" amid the rash of recent thefts.

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green similarly told blogTO that the transit commission "takes all reports of theft seriously."

"If people witness an incident on TTC property, they can contact police or advise uniformed TTC staff who will report it to Transit Control. Conversely, they can use the SafeTTC app to anonymously report it," says Green.

"In cases of an emergency, press the yellow emergency alarm on all vehicles or call 9-1-1. If people have information about a previous incident, they should report that to police."

Long story short: Keep on eye and a tight grip on your phone when approaching subway stations. Someone might just be waiting in the wings to grab your stuff and flee as the doors close behind them.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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