Wednesday 26 October 2016

Mugged in the city: 'One thug stuck his grimey hand into my pocket for my iPhone and the other two knocked me to the ground'

Published 29/06/2016 | 20:38

It can be hard convincing friends from home in Tipperary to make a trip up the big smoke for a few nights. 'Is it not a bit dangerous?', 'I'd rather not get assaulted' and 'You live on the northside though, Jay' were regular excuses trotted out.

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I've always reasoned with these lame duck arguments by stating I've lived up here more than four years and I've never had anything happen to me.

Oh well. Can't say that anymore.

For those who walk past City Quay on a daily basis, as I do, you'd think the main danger is the visual disturbance of young couples wearing the face of each other before they get their buses.

That is, until last Monday night.

That area of Dublin is not exactly party central at 11pm at night, which is around the time I strolled home after meeting a friend for a drink in a well-known inner-city pub.

The three tracksuit-wearing chaps walking towards me caught my attention. I was in the middle of sending a text, but decided they looked sketchy, so stuck my phone back in my pocket and gripped it tightly. For all the good it did.

Two of the thugs went one side of me, while the other stuck his grimey hand into my pocket and stealthily pried my phone away, while the other two knocked me to the ground.

Although stunned, I leaped up and gave chase. I managed to catch up to one scumbag and briefly got him off his feet, somehow upending myself off a postbox for my troubles.

I looked up and could just about see their shadows fade away in the distance. Hasta la vista, iPhone. It was nice while it lasted.

The only bright side to this dilemma is that I almost certainly broke my personal best sprinting the three kilometres or so home, while my mind filled with dread as to what these lowlifes might do with my phone before I remotely disabled it.

What if they text abusive or deceitful messages to my family? What if they went through my personal emails or photos? What if they called some of the celebrity numbers I've acquired over the years? Like Twink. She'd hate that!

I burst into my apartment and immediately went to deactivate my stolen phone remotely. Sweating, shaking and breathless, I was barely able to remember my passwords, let alone type them. Before I jumped through all the hoops Apple forced upon me, I had a quick gawk to see where the phone was now. Less than 500 metres away on Sheriff Street.

The absolute b******s. I like Sheriff Street. I've lived beside it for years and spent just as long convincing my family and friends that it's actually a nice place full of character. A taste of real Dublin. I still believe that. Three scumbags with legs longer and faster than me won't change that.

Despite knowing where the phone was before it was permanently switched off, I’ve no delusions of getting it back. The Gardaí have been brilliant since I gave my statement, but I couldn’t help notice the three people in line before me also were reporting stolen phones. I  can’t imagine the gardaí taking time from investigating gang activities in the capital to find the plethora of stolen phones out there. Our new Tinder matches will just have to wait.

All I‘m really hoping for is that my statement can be another notch on the rap sheet when these deviants eventually come before a judge.

To them, I may appear like a hapless culchie or a prime target. They have already forced me to wise up late at night on the streets, but they won't intimidate me off them.

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