|TTC rider Susan McGregor, nine months pregnant, had her iPhone stolen right out of her hand as she sat on a Toronto subway car, Saturday, June 10, 2012. (Stan Behal/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Imagine this: You are a 31-year-old woman, nine months pregnant and sitting on the subway, when the rider beside you stands up.
After the train comes to a stop, that same stranger grabs your mobile phone right out of your hand and exits the subway before heading down the platform.
And there’s nothing you can do about it.
This is exactly what happened to married mother-to-be Susan McGregor on Wednesday afternoon while travelling the TTC’s Bloor-Danforth subway line. She was on her way back to work after a routine medical appointment when the brazen theft of her iPhone took place during a stop at Runnymede station.
But being just about ready to give birth to her first child, McGregor was hardly in a position to give chase.
“I couldn’t react in time,” McGregor said Thursday, adding that there were other passengers on the train who were unaware of what had happened until after the fact. “He just sort of sauntered off the train. I couldn’t believe it. It’s like, pick on someone your own size.”
This type of the theft — the planned and sudden swiping of personal electronic devices — is on the rise, according to TTC spokesman Brad Ross.
“iPhones, iPads, those types of devices, we’ve seen an increase in (these thefts) everywhere,” said Ross, adding that riders should keep such devices “tucked away” and “secured” while riding public transit, and be aware of their surroundings and the people around them.
Thieves typically time their robberies around the stopping of trains so they can quickly get off the subway, down the platform and out of the station before the victim can pursue them, Ross said.
While the TTC continues to have roving uniformed and plain-clothed security officers on its system, they haven’t the power to arrest someone for stealing unless they catch the bandit in the act, Ross said, adding that the TTC’s special constable unit was mothballed by the Toronto Police Services Board in 2010.
But Toronto Police, he said, does have an 80-officer transit patrol unit — officers that ride the system to ensure safety and security.