Madison police have arrested a suspect in connection with the theft of multiple phones at Johnny O’s Sports Lounge early Friday morning.
Police arrested Karim Ibrahim, age 19, after victims reported he had stolen multiple phones throughout the night at the bar, according to a Madison Police Department report.
The report said patrons had alerted bouncers to the thefts Thursday night. Bar staff then approached the suspect. According to the report, Ibrahim dropped three or four phones under the table he was sitting at. He escaped the bouncers as they went to call police, the report said.
The report said as officers arrived at the scene of the crime, the suspect shook one of their hands saying he appreciated them, though police did not know at the time that he was actually the suspect.
A staff member then informed the police Ibrahim was the thief as he took off running, the report said. However, he tripped as he was running and police were then able to handcuff him.
The suspect had two phones in his pocket as well as a credit card that was not his, the report said. The suspect reportedly yelled at police, saying they had “no probable cause” to arrest him, and claiming someone had planted the cell phones in his pocket.
The report said stealing cellphones in this manner is a phenomenon that is occurring across the county, known as “apple picking.”
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said the robbery is only the most recent in a string of smartphone thefts in the downtown area.
“The Johnny O’s incident is just the latest example of cell phone theft downtown,” Verveer said. “In this case, luckily the suspect was apprehended. Many times the suspects are never apprehended [for these crimes].”
Verveer said he hopes people are reminded by the incident that their phones are almost equivalent to cash and to be extra careful in campus area bars.