Samuel Axon

Jun 24 2010

Explanation: The iPhone Mugging

This morning I tweeted that I’d been robbed while waiting in line for the iPhone. I’ve been inundated with messages about it, so I’ll just explain further and clarify here for all interested.

I hadn’t actually entered the line yet, but I had taken a seat on my way in order to quickly chat with Pete Cashmore using Campfire on my iPhone (my now-old 3GS, not an iPhone 4) when two young men sat on either side of me.

They initiated a conversation about sports and I was very terse. I knew what their intentions were, and my concern was for the equipment I had with me in my black shoulder bag: a MacBook Pro and a Canon Rebel EOS T2i, because they were valuable and because I needed them to do my job.

The guys concluded the conversation by doing something that happens every five minutes in most parts of downtown Chicago: They asked for a few bucks for train fare. I was sufficiently concerned about the safety of my gear and myself that I simply decided to give it to them in hopes that they would be satisfied and leave.

When I reached to my wallet (a stupid move in retrospect, but no one thinks clearly at 3:30 AM), one held me back and the other took the wallet. He took the cash amount I had — $65. I suggested that I wasn’t looking for trouble but politely asked that he keep the cash but return the wallet with my ID and transit card so I wouldn’t be totally screwed.

He complied and they both ran away, apparently too clueless, nervous or amateurish to inquire as to what else I was carrying or even to demand or seize my phone.

It’s not a big deal, and to be honest, it’s something you should almost expect at 3:30 AM in a dark corner of Chicago. There were people nearby, but none of them got involved. They couldn’t have, really; it went down very quickly. Many of them were sleeping, also.

Thanks for the interest, I suppose, but it’s not much of a story. Now I’m finally home so I’m going to get some much needed sleep.

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