Over the past several weeks, the Tempe Police Department says at least two groups of thieves have stolen iPhones and other electronic devices from at least eight Arizona State University students on or near the university's Tempe campus.
The most recent heist happened Monday night.
According to the Tempe P.D., the thefts have all been fairly similar -- one or more suspects will approach a person with an iPhone and snatch it out of the victim's hand. In other robberies, one suspect will provide a distraction, like asking for directions, as another thief swipes the phone.
In at least one incident, force was used to steal the device, although, no weapons have been used, police say.
The suspects have been described as groups of two or three black males in their late teens or early 20s.
Three suspects -- an adult and two juveniles -- were arrested Monday night. However, as those three suspects were getting booked into jail, another robbery of an ASU student's cell phone occurred, which is why authorities presume more suspects -- who may or may not be in cahoots with the three who were arrested -- are on the loose.
The robberies are reminiscent of two robberies last year that led to the deaths of ASU students Zachary Marco and Kyleigh Sousa in separate incidents.
Marco was shot as two thugs stole his computer while he was walking near the ASU campus. Sousa was dragged by a car when a man stole her purse as she was standing in front of the IHOP restaurant just south of the campus.
Tempe police suggest that if you're walking near ASU, you take precautions, like not listening to headphones while walking, and not displaying your pricey phones where a potential robber can see it.
Tempe police and ASU police are working together to catch the remaining suspects. Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call the Tempe P.D. at 480-350-8311.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.