Sneaky thief steals phone out of man's pocket outside SW Houston apartment

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Houston police say this surveillance video not only shows a robber in the act, but a mistake the victim made that could have been fatal. (KTRK)

Houston police have a warning after watching surveillance camera footage of a parking lot robbery.

The robbery happened back on February 4 at the Arbors on Westheimer apartment complex.

Video shows a man in a red shirt sneak up behind an unsuspecting victim, reach into his back pocket and take a cell phone away.

A second man is hiding behind a car and jumps out to defend the thief, pushing the victim to the ground.

"Absolutely he was being followed," said HPD Officer Jeff Brieden.

The video, just released to the public this morning, shows the thief literally creeping behind the man and slowly reach into his back pocket while he is walking through the parking lot.

"It's very clear by watching the video that he knows exactly what he's going to go for, and once he has it he turns around and runs the opposite direction," Brieden said.

Brieden says the victim was wearing ear buds, listening to his cell phone, carrying a soda and let his guard down.

"Crooks are going to take the path of least resistance, they're going to look for somebody that's going to be an easy target," the officer said.

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His advice is to always be aware of your surroundings.

The second, more dangerous mistake Brieden says the victim made was to run after the thief.

"The part that disturbs me is that the male starts running, and then he turns around and starts running backwards almost kind of like daring him," Brieden said.

Brieden warns to never chase after someone like this, because you don't know if they're armed or have an accomplice, like in this case, waiting to hurt you.

Eyewitness News spoke with the victim. He says he was injured during that fall and couldn't walk for a week.

He is eager for the suspects to be caught, but says he knows now never to confront a criminal like that.
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.

You can make an anonymous tip by calling 713-222-TIPS.
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