Menu
Latest tablet theft victim is just 2 years old

Latest tablet theft victim is just 2 years old

Crime comes as cellular carriers face pressure to apply technology to stop device theft

High-tech device theft has claimed its latest victim in San Francisco -- and he's just 2 years old.

On Thursday evening, thieves stole a tablet PC from the hands of a toddler while he was sitting in the back of a car in the city's Mission district.

The incident is the latest in a growing number of thefts that have targeted people using smartphones and tablet computers in San Francisco and across the U.S. The robberies are sometimes violent, involving a gun or knife, and cellphone carriers are coming under increasing pressure to come up with a technological solution that would render stolen handsets useless.

Lawmakers in California last week proposed a state law that would mandate a "kill switch" that would disable stolen phones, reducing their value and the incentive for theft, and Wednesday similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would take effect nationally from 2015.

Thursday night's robbery began when a driver was parking his car in the 900 block of Capp Street. One suspect confronted the driver and told him he couldn't park where he had stopped. Simultaneously, a second suspect opened a passenger door of the car and took the tablet from the hands of the toddler, who was playing on it while sitting in the back seat, according to the police.

A fight followed when the driver jumped out of the car and tried to stop the theft but failed. He suffered a cut arm and both robbers fled the area. The child was unhurt.

"It's not very common for children to be victims of robbery," said San Francisco Police Department spokesman Officer Albie Esparza. "But saying that, criminals are opportunistic and will seize an opportunity to commit a crime."

The theft is reminiscent of one in the U.K. in 2012 that was caught on a clothing store's security camera.

In that incident, a man, later identified as a 72-year-old, approached a 20-month-old child who was sitting in a stroller watching cartoons while her mother shopped nearby. The man looked around for a few seconds, then reached down and took the iPhone out of the child's hands.

Police eventually caught up with the suspect, who pled guilty to a string of thefts and was jailed for 42 weeks, according to a local media report.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CriminalSan Francisco Police Departmenthardware systemslegaltabletslegislationgovernment

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Leading figures within the technology industry across New Zealand came together to celebrate 30 years of success for Lexel Systems, at a milestone birthday occasion at St Matthews in the City.​

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30
HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP New Zealand held an inaugural Evolve Education event at Aotea Centre in Auckland, welcoming over 70 principals, teachers and education experts to explore ways of shaping and enhancing learning using technology.

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch
Show Comments