CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Lots of people who exercise like to do it to music. It’s a good distraction. But it can be bad news. “Apple jacking” is when criminals take iPhones, iPods, or other electronics right out of your hands—and run off. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say it’s a “recent trend” they’ve noticed. A Providence Division officer sent out an email alert, warning residents to be on their toes. He explained, “One common scenario involves a person running or jogging while using their phone. A thief comes up from behind the victim, takes the item, and then flees from the scene.”
The Urban Dictionary definition of “apple jacking” references “those tell-tale white ear buds,” a signal to criminals you’re distracted and an easy target. One man tells WCCB News @ Ten anchor Morgan Fogarty, “I jog a lot. I quit doing that (wearing earbuds) for that same reason.” She asked, “Do you feel like you’re distracted, or do you feel like you’re paying attention to your surroundings?” He says, “Always paying attention. Plus we’ve got these,” as he points to his two large dogs.
Fogarty asked a runner if he ever works out with earbuds. He says, “No, I never do. I like to hear what’s around me, cars coming, things like that.”
South Charlotte resident Rex Allman agrees. When he’s riding his bike, which he does a lot, he locks up his personal electronic equipment. He doesn’t want to make himself a target for “apple jacking.” He says, “I don’t carry any of that stuff. I use the outdoors, basically, as my music, and that way I can hear anything.”
Another place to consider putting your iPhone or iPod away is the grocery store. One runner we talked to said he’d heard of “apple jacking” happening there, too.