CONTROVERSY: Boca Mall iPhone Theft Raising New Questions

wpid-Photo-Oct-14-2012-1002-PM.jpgBOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Andrew Colton/Editor and Publisher– BocaNewsNow.com reported Friday night that a mom — pushing her two little kids in a stroller at Boca Raton Town Center Mall (NYSE:SPG) — was approached by a young man who stole her iPhone.

It happened. There is a police report. We stand by the story.

We learned of the incident from the victim who also told us that security at Boca Raton Town Center Mall said that it was the third theft of the day where a parent, pushing a stroller, was approached by a man who stole an iPhone. The theory: the man was pursuing parents with strollers, knowing they would not give chase.

Both a mall spokesperson and Boca PD refute this — saying they are all only aware of the one theft.

This is reporting. We are presenting multiple sides of the same story. You, the reader, can decide what to believe.

Over the past 72 hours, however, our story has been retold and altered by other local media — including WPEC-TV12 — and attributed to Boca Raton Police which is something we never did.

We stated that police confirm that iPhone thefts are a problem in Palm Beach County — which is fact — as iPhone thefts are a problem nationwide. But we never stated that police confirmed that families pushing strollers are being targeted. We attributed this statement to the victim.

But Channel 12 today reported this:

police are investigating a rash of i-phone thefts at the town center mall in boca raton. investigators say the thieves are targeting mothers with strollers. in each incident– a well-dressed man gets out of a nice car, holds up a cracked phone claiming it’s broken.. and then asks to use the victim’s phone. the suspect then immediately gets into his car with the victim’s phone and takes off. boca raton police say it’s happened three times at the mall.

Channel 12 WPEC got it wrong. The police never said that.

Even one iPhone theft at Town Center Mall  is a story. The fact that it was a mom pushing two little kids in a stroller, heading to the “new parent parking area” makes it more of a story. This is an area that should be under constant surveillance, and we believe highlights the Mall’s continued deficiencies when it comes to patrolling entrance and parking areas — especially those earmarked for parents with babies. Crime only happens when there is opportunity.

The mall’s response — as many readers have pointed out — lacked empathy and resolve, especially with constant cable TV retellings of Randi Gorenberg’s murder following her 2007 abduction from Town Center Mall.

We work closely with the Boca Raton Police Department to execute proactive security strategies and create safety awareness throughout the mall and community. We provide 24 hour security patrols in and around the property, employing both private security and off duty police officers. We also invest in new technologies to enhance our customers’ safe shopping experience. 

Should parents be panicked and curtail shopping at the Mall? We don’t think so.

Should parents always be aware of what’s going on around them when they’re out and about? Absolutely.

And should you loan your phone to someone who says theirs is broken? Probably not — especially in a mall where every store has a land line.

Bottom line: we have no way of knowing whether there were three thefts on Friday or just one. We don’t know whether a security guard told a victim something he shouldn’t have, or if there was a miscommunication or misunderstanding following the trauma of being victimized.

But whether there were three thefts or just one, this part is indisputable:  one theft of an iPhone from a mom pushing babies in a stroller at the mall is one more than there should be.

 

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