Phone thief on Paris train caught when passengers call and hear ring

The thief continued to deny it was him but the phone was ringing in his pocket

A view of a thief stealing a phone from a woman’s back pocket
The thief pickpocketed the phone but continued to deny it, even as passenger pressure mounted
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A woman who had her phone stolen on a train in Paris was able to get it back in record time after passengers helped her by listening for a ring when the number was dialled.

A video of the event, which was posted online on TikTok and X (formerly Twitter), had received more than two million views by yesterday evening (March 19).

It shows passengers on board a packed RER D line train putting pressure on the thief, who continued to claim his innocence even as the stolen phone rang repeatedly in his pocket.

Contexte : RER D, une femme remarque que son téléphone lui a été dérobé, aussitôt une solidarité s’organise dans la rame pour retrouvé l’auteur du vol. Un usagers propose de faire sonner le téléphone ! Et devinez quoi ! Il sonne dans la poche d’une chance

— plus_de_fritte_svp (@plus_de_fritte) March 19, 2024

The pickpocketing victim, Coco, said that she was on the platform waiting for the train towards 19:00, and was preparing to call her son to let him know she was running late due to delays.

However, the train arrived while she had her phone in her hand and in the crush of people trying to board, she was unable to put her phone back in her bag in time. Instead, she slipped it into her pocket and boarded the train.

She then felt a hand slip into her pocket and steal the phone. She immediately looked behind her and saw a man and “was 99% sure it was him”, she told 20 Minutes.

She called out loudly: “Someone’s stolen my phone, no-one gets off until I’ve found it!”

Thief: ‘It’s not me’

People around Coco responded and started to help but - despite the pressure - the thief did not own up.

"That's when a passenger advised me to ring my phone with my connected watch," she said. The passengers called for silence and the sound of the device rang out.

The video then shows passengers saying: “It’s here…it’s ringing over there.”

On the second ring, the thief finally made himself known - while continuing to deny the theft to the end.

“He said: ‘It's not me, I'm doing Ramadan', and threw my phone on the floor with his other hand. It fell on a woman’s foot,” said Coco.

“There was no violence but everyone told him to get out at the next stop, which he did,” she said. “I didn't press charges, because that wouldn't have done any good.”

Coco said she is just pleased to have got her phone back, especially as it was new and a Christmas present and is thankful for the fellow passengers’ help.

She said that she has had hundreds of phone calls and positive messages since the video (as her phone number appears in it). However, she said she has also received “some really weird calls” and now plans to change the number.

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