SEPTA Police Search For Man Who Targets Mobile Phone Users - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

SEPTA Police Search For Man Who Targets Mobile Phone Users

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Surveillance video captured a man who SEPTA police say is targeting cellphone users. Surveillance video captured a man who SEPTA police say is targeting cellphone users.
PHILADELPHIA -

SEPTA police are on the lookout for a man targeting mobile phone users on the transit agency's Broad Street Line, after a pair of robberies since Tuesday night.

Twenty-nine-year-old Catherine Salter tells FOX 29 she was aboard the southbound BSL subway pulling into the Logan station around 8:20 p.m.

Just as she finished texting her fiancée on her iPhone, she noticed a dark-skinned African-American man in a light-colored hoodie.

"He walked in front of me as if he was getting off the train," Salter told our Bruce Gordon.

"Once the doors opened, his hand reached back and he grabbed my stuff. I looked up and grabbed my possessions and it was like a little bit of a struggle and I kind of grabbed my purse and let the phone go."

"I kind of realized it was either fight for it or give it up. I didn't know if he had a weapon. I didn't know what his next step would be, so I just thought that I needed to give it up- I didn't want to die for a phone."

SEPTA surveillance cameras show the thief darting out of the train and escaping down the platform.

Salter asked that we hide her face, but she shared her story, because, "I don't want it to happen to anyone else. It's scary."

In fact, SEPTA says the crook struck again just before 10 a.m. Wednesday morning at the BSL's Fairmount station.

Security camera video shows him- wearing the same hoodie as the night before- peering out of the just-stopped train to see if the coast is clear.

With no police in sight, he snatches a phone from a passenger standing next to him and takes off, with the victim in hot pursuit.

The thief got away, but SEPTA police chief Tom Nestel is confident he'll be caught.

In the meantime, Nestel warns mobile phone users: "As the train pulls into the station, stop doing whatever it is you're doing on the phone. Take a look around. Be nosy. See who's standing around them and when the train pulls off they can go back to texting or playing their game."

Ironically, many new phones can be shut down remotely, making them worthless moments after they're reported stolen.

FOX 29 has the surveillance video. If the crook looks familiar to you, call SEPTA police at 215-580-4131.

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