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Moped-riding AirPod bandits are snatching headphones across New York City

Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A group of thieves riding mopeds in New York City have been stealing headphones off people's heads, according to CNN via the NYPD.

Particularly, the criminals have been stealing a collection of Apple AirPod Max, retailing for $549 on Apple's website. The headphones are not the popular wireless, in-ear headphones (which would make the thefts particularly difficult); instead they are the wireless, over-the-ear headphones.

A group of four bandits are being sought out by the city's police department, with 21 recorded incidents of theft directly off victims' heads and the assailants making getaways via moped.

NYPD told the news outlet that in each incident, the crooks approach victims from behind with two individuals on red and black mopeds.

The robberies first started on January 28, 2023, and have continued through February 2023, all in Manhattan.

New York University students have been warned about robbers in the area, as some of the confrontations have taken place near NYU campus buildings, victimizing students.

In one instance, two NYU students were targeted by the headphone pirates.

January 2022, New York City saw a near 40% increase in crime over 2021, according to AMNY.

NYC reportedly closed out 2022 with crime increasing by nearly a quarter (23.5%), and despite a decrease in homicides, there were approximately 10,000 robberies in the city in the same year.

“Public safety is the foundation of the city … it’s the prerequisite of prosperity,” said Mayor Eric Adams at the time.

It was also a 27-year high for felony gun arrests for New York City in 2022, with nearly 7,000 firearms seizures, including a 73% increase in ghost gun seizures (430).

In 2023, the New York Times reported another yearly increase in crime of 22% for January.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, mopeds fall under the same rules as motorcycles in the city, requiring a driver's license and registration in order to drive them on city streets.

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