Video: Man Takes Cell Phone, Runs, and Then Returns It To His Victim?

Susan Keyloun, who contributes photographs to The Local, decided to start shooting video for us as well. Her first outing proved plenty eventful. Heres her story, involving a hot pursuit, a surrender, and another foot race in four-inch heels.

Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by The Local’s headquarters at Cooper Square to pick up a video camera. I had volunteered to be their April O’Neil, keeping a camera strapped to me at all times in case of breaking news. After a quick video tutorial, I hit the streets wondering what I might shoot: Maybe the occupation of Tompkins Square Park in a couple of days? Actually, I didn’t have to wait nearly that long for a good story.

Not five minutes after I had secured the camera, around 4 p.m., a man wearing a red sweatshirt and blue backpack rushed past me on East Eighth Street with a mob in hot pursuit. From what they were screaming, it seemed he had stolen a cell phone from one of them. I reached for my video camera, suddenly transforming into “Scoop Keyloun.” (Except that it took me almost a minute to get the lens cap off. What can I say? The tutorial hadn’t covered that.)

I followed the man and the mob into the Astor Place subway station. As I ran down the stairs in four-inch heels (which does not a smooth video make), I wondered whether my editor would believe that New York City had experienced its second earthquake this year. I also worried that I might not have enough money on my MetroCard to follow the chase onto the subway platform and into a train, but in the end, that didn’t matter. The man, realizing he had no place to run, simply handed the cell phone back to the victim, a woman in a light-colored trench coat. And, get this – she said thank you.

But it didn’t end there. As our suspect barreled through the mob and ran out of the subway toward East Eighth Street – back to the scene of the crime! – she decided to run after him, and so did I, though I ultimately thought better of chasing them down the street in those heels. Meanwhile, the mob stayed behind. Either they had decided justice had been served, or they had a train to catch.

The police were called to the scene, but 15 minutes later, they had not yet arrived. The Local has contacted the N.Y.P.D. to find out whether any charges were pressed.

Want to pound the pavement for The Local? E-mail the editor to tell us about yourself, and what you might be interested in covering.