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Local crime reporter becomes a victim on Metro

Tuesday - 8/16/2011, 7:33pm  ET

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Monday night was like many for Scott McCabe. After leaving his job as the crime and punishment reporter for The Washington Examiner, he hopped on Metro and headed home.

Soon after, McCabe became the story.

At about 8:30 p.m. at the Brookland station, as McCabe was sitting by the door on a Red Line train, he had his iPhone ripped out of his hand.

"I had the earphones in my ear. I had the Twitter. I was in my own little world, and then it was like 'boom' -- hand came down and he took off," McCabe recounted Tuesday.

McCabe says he reacted immediately.

"I was just cussing at him and chasing him," he said. "There really were no thoughts -- which is not surprising if people know me. It was just reaction."

McCabe -- whose ultimate destination was College Park -- ran out of the train at Brookland, jumped the faregate and chased the man. About two blocks later, he caught up with him, along with the Metropolitan Police Department and Metro Transit Police.

"They (the police) were on it," McCabe said. "It was like: 'This has happened before.'"

In fact, so-called "snatch-and-grabs" related to iPhones, BlackBerry devices and iPods have been a problem for a while now on Metro.

According to Metro statistics, there were 1,007 total robberies on the system last year. That number is up from 894 in 2009, 581 in 2008 and 445 in 2007.

There were 425 robbery "snatches" in 2009 and 508 in 2010, according to Metro. In the first three months of 2011, there were 99 snatch-type robberies, compared to 173 in 2010 and 56 in 2009 during the same time period.

McCabe's iPhone, which got lost in the commotion, was later turned in at the Takoma Station.

McCabe says he will certainly change the way he rides.

"Looking back -- I was a perfect victim," he said. "My advice -- don't have your iPhone out by the door."

Metro says the suspect was frisked after the incident, and later released.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)