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Police track down Wicker Park iPhone thieves

Updated: March 14, 2013 11:04AM

Using a GPS tracking app on a robbery victim’s iPhone, police officers on Wednesday night followed the path of the thieves, and the phone, on the CTA’s Blue Line, until they arrested the two teen suspects on the train.

A 26-year-old man was walking home in the 1300 block of North Leavitt when he saw a person approaching him from behind about 9:30 p.m. One of the two men grabbed the victim around the neck in a choke-hold and threw him to the ground. The two then took the victim’s iPhone from his coat and took his wallet before fleeing on foot.

The victim had activated an app that tracks lost or stolen iPhones, and when Shakespeare District officers arrived they were able to track down the GPS location of the stolen phone, Chicago police said.

This led them to the Damen Blue Line station. The signal began traveling southbound, at which time officers notified the city Office of Emergency Management and Communications to stop the train at the Division Street stop. There, the officers boarded the last car of the train, where they found two males matching the description of the wanted robbers.

The two suspects, 18-year-old Michael Jones, of the 4400 block of South Greenwood Avenue, and 17-year-old Albert Hill, of the 4500 block of South Calumet Avenue, have both been charged with one count of felony robbery, the release said.

The victim’s phone and property was recovered from the two, police said.

Jones and Hill were scheduled to appear in bond court later Thursday at the Criminal Courts Building at 26th Street and California Avenue.

On Wednesday, police issued a community alert regarding recent strong-armed robberies in the late-night hours in the River North area where the thieves have taken victims’ iPhones after grabbing them or putting them in a choke-hold. Police did not say if there was any connection between these robberies and the one on Wednesday night.

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