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Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

Red Line Phone Snatcher Gets Caught By 2 Passengers, Police Say

Two fellow passengers helped a woman after a man snatched her phone at the Belmont station, police said.

The Belmont station for the Brown, Purple and Red lines.
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CHICAGO — Two people helped stop a phone thief Tuesday on a Red Line train, police said.

At 3:36 p.m., a woman was riding the train when it stopped at the Belmont station. A man on the train snatched the phone from her hand, but two fellow passengers stopped the man from leaving, police said.

The woman’s phone was returned to her and the man was taken into custody. Charges were pending.

Kate Rice was on the train when the attempted theft happened, she said. She heard someone say, “Give back the phone!” and saw a commotion on the train.

Someone called for others on the train to press the button to alert the operator, who ran toward the car once the train stopped, Rice said. Rice hopped off the train at the station and heard an announcement that the train would be stopped due to police activity.

“There are lots of times when people do not step in to stop theft or provide help in other situations, and understandably so — someone can be armed or react violently, and of course it’s not worth anyone’s life to stop a phone theft,” Rice said. “But this seemed to turn out all right, and I think it’s nice that people reacted — apparently appropriately — to help another human and prevent a theft.

“Even for someone with a full-time job, lots of people live paycheck to paycheck and the cost of replacing a phone, not to mention all the data and financial accounts we have linked to our phones, could be catastrophic.”

No one was reported injured.