If you've been planning to head down to the Lower East Side to bid adieu to Max Fish, make sure you hang onto your iPhone: bars and clubs in the neighborhood have been experiencing an uptick in reported cell phone thefts over the past few months, and now venue owners are doing their best to strike back.
The smartphone thefts are nothing new—downtown clubs like the Delancey, DL, Hotel Chantelle and Bowery Electric have been plagued by alleged phone-stealing rings who use teams of three or more to snatch phones from bags and tables. Club owners like Paul Seres, who runs DL, say they've had enough, and they're working with cops to cut down on the thefts. Seres says at least a dozen phone thefts have occurred in his club since November, and they've hired undercover security guards to patrol for rings. He's also been sharing photos of suspected thieves with the doormen at neighboring clubs in hopes of catching culprits.
Naturally, there are ways to protect yourself from a phone theft, and Seres says he's seen his fair share of virtual phone gift-giving to thieves. "People leave them on a bar and they walk away," he told the Daily News. "I don’t understand." Then again, some suspected thieves have proven to be pretty crafty: back in October, one phone-theft ring allegedly went so far as to unzip clubbers' bags, take out phones and pass them off to accomplices.
In conclusion, your phone may or may not be doomed no matter what you do, so maybe it's time to start booby-trapping it Indiana Jones-style before you head out for the night.