Woman's phone stolen from purse at bar in Buckhead - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Woman's phone stolen from purse at bar in Buckhead

(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

Thieves are stealing iPhones right out of women's purses.

It's happening more often at bars in Buckhead, but these same criminals could target you anytime and anywhere.

Laura Carr didn't expect to become a victim, but thieves zeroed in on her and her iPhone 7 at Churchill's Bar in Buckhead.

"It was in the side pocket of my little cross body purse, so I think they just slipped their hand in the pocket somehow," says Carr. "It was a really crowded bar so that's probably how it happened."

The same night Carr says she ran into another woman who had her iPhone stolen too.

I wanted to find out how often it's happening so I took a closer look at Atlanta police data.

At Churchill's Bar, and within a quarter-mile of it, I found 22 reports of stolen property from March to mid-July., with two of them listed as iPhone's taken from Churchill's Bar.

Keep in mind, many thefts -- like Carr's -- are never reported to police.

So what's happening to those phones?

"People smuggling phones, they're not smuggling money or drugs anymore, they're smuggling phones...selling them overseas for $5 or $600 because they can," says Shahzad Pirani, the owner of iRepairIt

Pirani says even if the phones are locked or listed as stolen, thieves can still turn a profit. 

"They're able to bypass all these blacklists and able to use them overseas," says Pirani. "They don't care about the information so they're selling these phones just for parts, they're selling the screens for pennies on the dollar to wholesalers, and the wholesalers are then distributing them out."

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