Mother Uses 6-Year-Old to Steal iPhone: Police

Undercover operation to catch thieves

By Pat Collins and Matthew Stabley
|  Saturday, May 26, 2012  |  Updated 1:31 PM EDT
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Pat Collins reports on a police operation that caught a woman using her 6-year-old son to steal an iPhone.

Pat Collins

Pat Collins reports on a police operation that caught a woman using her 6-year-old son to steal an iPhone.

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D.C. police have stepped up efforts to prevent thefts of smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices, as the crimes are becoming more common, but one such effort led to a startling arrest. A woman is accused of using her 6-year-old son to steal an iPhone from an undercover police officer.

Metro Transit Police has deployed decoys to catch thieves, with officers dressed as sleeping customers with exposed phones, tempting people with sticky fingers. D.C. police used a similar tactic this week.

An undercover officer pretended to be asleep on the sidewalk in the 3500 block of 14th Street Wednesday afternoon with his right hand next to an iPhone on the ground. A woman passing by with her son told the 6-year-old to grab the iPhone, police said. The boy picked up the phone and continued walking with his mother, but when they noticed the man getting up off the sidewalk, they dropped the phone, police said.

Other officers moved in to make the arrest.

In addition to a robbery charge, the mother was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Police nabbed an iPad thief using similar methods in the same area Thursday.

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