There is a rash of iPhone thieves on the streets (and subways) of New York City and Los Angeles. In the WSJ NYC blog, Metropolis, there is this report on a 17.8% increase in subway larcenies due largely to iPhone thefts.
Meanwhile, the pseudonymous Bob Cringely, had his iPhone snatched from his belt while in Los Angeles. Even though he had his Where is my iPhone? app, it was not to be found. Cringely explains:
The moment it was grabbed from my belt the thief handed it to an accomplice. Within a minute the phone was powered-off and untraceable. They didn’t want my data, just my iPhone.
An iPhone 4 can go for $300 in China. They replace the SIM card, spoof the MAC address or sell it for use on a network that doesn’t care. The street price in L. A. for my phone is $100. An industrious criminal can grab several phones per day.
Good thing I have a Droid, I suppose.