Criminal Explains How He Steals Phones

by : Cameron Frew on :
Criminal Explains How He Steals Phones@breadboyuk/TikTok

Documentary footage has resurfaced of a criminal explaining how he’d steal an everyday pedestrian’s phone. 

Mobile phones are the most commonly stolen item in the UK. For the year ending in March 2020, an estimated 325,000 people experienced phone thefts in England and Wales.


Particularly over the past decade, carrying around an expensive phone as you walk around your local city or town has become normalised. Unfortunately, there are thieves out there waiting to capitalise on your lack of awareness as you scroll on social media or pick a song on Spotify.

In 2018’s Inside Britain’s Moped Crime Gangs, reporter Livvy Haydock met with criminals who roam London’s city centre (where the majority of the UK’s phone thefts take place) looking for people on their phone.

‘Anyone who has a phone who’s out, facing down, especially with their headphones in – they’re completely unaware to what’s going to happen,’ one of the drivers said. ‘That would be the perfect target, and it’s all about the positioning as well.’


Essentially – as someone who’s actually had this happen to him only last year – they pull up alongside you in their moped, often one driver and a ‘snatcher’, grab the phone out of your hands and speed off into the distance. While you can take their number plate down, they’re also rarely registered and are extremely difficult to trace.


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‘Anything that’s not wrapped securely around someone’s shoulder, someone’s back… it’s very easy for us to snatch that and take it,’ he explained.

Haydock asked him if he thought people were ‘stupid’ for walking around with their phones out. ‘Of course,’ he replied. ‘You’re asking for it, in my opinion… it’s not normal, how are you crossing the road? You should have all eyes on the road. People at bus stops are waiting on their buses, they’re not focused on themselves too much.’


‘If you’re using your phone, use it while you’re stationary, in an area where you could observe yourself properly,’ he also said, contradicting his earlier target at a bus stop.

Moped crime is a huge problem across the UK. (BBC Three)BBC Three

Earlier in the documentary, Haydock asks him if he thinks it’s a ‘scummy thing’ to do, to which he says he’s just dealing with the ‘cards [he’s] been dealt with’.

The clip was posted to TikTok by @breadboyuk, where it’s amassed more than 8.3 million views. Some people have commented somewhat in praise of the criminals for explaining how people should keep themselves safe, while many others have taken against the ‘asking for it’ claim and appropriately shamed them for stealing people’s phones and making them fearful while walking around in future.


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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: Life, mobile phones, Theft, UK


  1. @breadboyuk/TikTok

    Credit: BBC Three | Doesn’t justify it but this is good awareness! #london #crime #ukcrime #gangs #blowthisup #fyp