Panhandler allegedly steals phone from teen who gave him $1, hug

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HARLEM – A generous teen was allegedly victimized by a panhandler moments after he gave the man a dollar, police said Tuesday.

It happened shortly before 6 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Lexington Avenue/125th Street station in Harlem, police said.

The 14-year-old victim was inside the subway station with a group of friends waiting for a train when they were approached by a man pushing a shopping cart and asking for money, police said.

Each of the teens gave the man a dollar. The panhandler then shook the 14-year-old’s hand and partially hugged him on his right side, where the boy kept his phone. But when the victim checked his pocket, he realized the device was no longer there.

The teen confronted the suspected thief but the man denied having taken the boy’s phone and continued pushing his cart toward the end of the platform then left the station, police said.

No arrests have been made. Police described the panhandler as a black male about 30 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 160 pounds with brown eyes and long black hair in pony tail.

Anyone with information in the case is urged to call NYPD at 1-800-577-TIPS.