Few muggers posses the sophisticated refinement to appreciate the finer things in life: a nice bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a Whole Body Robotic Massage Chair from Sharper Image, and the latest version of whatever iPhone has been bestowned upon the unworthy masses (preferably the white one). So it's nice to know there's at least one discerning thief out there showing a little class. Police tell DNAinfo there's a cell phone robber targeting people in the neighborhood around Columbia University, and if he tries to rob you, don't even think about handing over your vulgar BlackBerry.
Last month, an armed man stopped a Columbia student in the lobby of a brownstone on West 114th Street, flashed a piece, and demanded the student's iPhone. But when the student presented his pathetic little BlackBerry, the rogue reportedly "snarled" back, "I want iPhones." Another student then appeared in the hallway, and got the same rough treatment. But he too was the sad owner of an undesirable BlackBerry. Sounds like the thief had foolishly tried to rob a building full of publicists, and he fled empty-handed.
About a week later, another mugger (possibly the same guy) tried to rob a female student near the site of the earlier incident. DNAinfo reports that he "slammed her against a fence and threatened to beat her up if she didn't hand over her iPhone." And once again, the smartphone connoisseur was disappointed by the lack of technological discernment on display in the neighborhood—informed that his victim possessed no iPhone, he left with nothing.
This year, 70 percent of all cell phone robberies in the subway were iPhones, and thieves' iPhone fetishization has been intensifying for while now: In 2009, a similarly picky mugger brandishing a large knife approached two women on East 59th Street and demanded to see their phones, and when he saw they weren't Apple products, he said, "I don't want them," and split. Clearly, this is either a genius iPhone viral marketing campaign, or it really is time to start carrying around a rotary telephone as a decoy.