Good things come in small packages, like Apple Computer's iPod. But they seem to prompt some people to do bad things--the coveted music players appear to be responsible for a minor crime wave.
From coast to coast, from Canada to Mexico, police blotters are filled with reports of stolen iPods. New York subways have been particularly hard hit, but college dorms from Pennsylvania to California and high schools virtually everywhere are reporting widespread theft of the iPods. Most of the victims are teenagers.
Victims complain that their loss isn't confined to just the physical iPod, but also to the loss of their downloaded music, often representing thousands of songs.
"iPods are definitely part of the newest items to be stolen and appear to be driving the recent spike in subway robberies," Paul Browne, a New York City deputy commissioner, told The New York Times this week. He added that most thefts didn't involve any physical assault, although there have been some isolated reports of violence involving the stealing of the music players. One student at New York's James Madison High School needed 44 stitches to sew up the stab wound he received when his iPod was stolen on a subway train.
A typical entry in a police blotter was this note from the Contra Costa, Calif., police: A man called to report his son's iPod was stolen from his school bag at Campolindo High School. Typically, iPods are taken from school lockers, or cafeterias, or cars. They are often snatched in college dorms.
In Albuquerque, Principal Jo Ann Coffee reported a rarity in the world of stolen iPods--two students at La Cueva High School were caught in the act and expelled. "It was short and sweet," she said, according to the Albuquerque Tribune. "Our security team is on top of things here."
New York University has issued some preventive medicine to ward off potential iPod theft. Noting that most iPod users sport a telltale white cord, the college has recommended that listeners use black headphones to disguise their use of iPods.