'Apple Picking' thefts hit Baltimore

'Apple Picking' is thefts of iPhones and iPads

BALTIMORE -  

There have been more than a few apples picked around Johns Hopkins Hospital in the last six months, enough for an email to warn employees and for Baltimore Police to notice.

"They are taking them out of their hands, taking them off your back pocket, take them out of your purse...anywhere where you're not paying attention," said Baltimore Police Detective Angela Carter-Watson.

Police say normally the thieves are teenagers who know just how much iPhones or iPads are worth and can turn them around quickly on the black market.

It's as if almost everybody has one and in some cases, ear buds not only make it apparent, but can literally lead a thief to the target.

Police say be aware and don't make it easy, but it's a mistake people all over the country are making.

"Everyone is dealing with it.  It's not just a Baltimore city problem, it is an east coast and east coast problem."

And from East Baltimore to west, the MTA is also battling this apple picking problem.

It says while crime on transit has been decreasing, the snatch and grab of mobile devices has been on the rise.

 Last month MTA teamed up with Baltimore city police to combat this crime of opportunity and timing.

"Usually a juvenile will just grab it and run right off the bus or the train when the door is closing so that the person who had the phone in their hand can't go and do anything about it because they are now in a moving vehicle," said MTA Spokesperson Joe Sviatko.

In response, the two agencies deployed extra officers at popular transfer points and on city buses and subways.

It is too early to tell if it has had any impact but anecdotally, the extra patrols are welcomed by riders.

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