Video of a Brazilian cellphone-stealing gang at work

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So much work to steal a brick able at a distance tracking device.


If they snag it while the owner is talking, they’re in to the settIngs and can shut that off, no?

Any videos out there of when they’ve tried stealing one attached to the owner’s wrist by a sturdy lanyard?

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I’m guessing the rest of the team is there in case anything goes wrong and they are there to protect the two primaries.

I’d say the police putting out undercover officers holding fake phones with exploding dye packs inside would slow down this practice. And be kinda fun to watch.


Those Rio kids at the tourist area during the Olympics could learn a thing or two from these guys, although we really don’t want them to.

And the hours and hours of prep and training that have to go into the act.

This is like an aggro take on pickpocketing. Instead of just stealing, they steal with a coordinated “stall” (distraction) attack. That folding the pilfered phone into the newspaper is straight out of “Harry in Your Pocket”.

It’s rather schizophrenic. You’re brazenly committing robbery, yet you nevertheless wish the victim to be momentarily unsure of the actual attacker.

And it depends on, and benefits from, the site of the crime being in a crowded urban situation. The fact that its broad daylight and there are multiple potential witnesses and there is the illusion of safety is a net-plus for the attackers.

Pretty diabolically brilliant.


My android phone is fully encrypted. It can receive calls while locked, and will time-out (currently set to 60 seconds) during an initiated phone call. So unless it’s snatched within the first minute of an initiated call, the thieves would be locked out.

The EFF recommends using a temporary phone when traveling. On a trip to Europe last year, I took an old, retired smartphone with no SIM card. I did a factory reset before heading out, and then encrypted it. This limited its usefulness to places with wifi, but I could make calls with google voice in a lot of places.


I’d guess that’s a fallback plan, and their primary purpose is to provide noise in the form of additional bodies that ambiguate who the shovers/stealers were.

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