Smartphone theft is nothing new, but a new technique nicknamed "Apple Picking" is particularly brazen -- and according to recent reports from New York City and St. Louis, it seems to be spreading.
The ordeal begins with the thief approaching a pedestrian and asking for the time (apparently you're more likely to be targeted if you don't happen to be wearing a watch). When the potential victim produces their phone from a pocket or bag, the thief gets a moment to decide whether the payoff is worth it. If the victim has a simple flip phone or other not-so-flashy device the thief can resume their search for a big payday, but if the victim pulls out an expensive smartphone, such as the iPhone after which the scam is named, the criminal grabs the devices and flees.
According to an NYPD report, thefts of Apple devices in particular are becoming a bit of an epidemic. The department claims that 14 percent of all crime in NYC -- all crime, not just theft -- involves stolen Apple products.
So what can you do to protect yourself from Apple Picking? Simple: Wear a watch. That is, until Apple releases one of those, too.