In the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, there has reportedly been a trend of phones being stolen at gay bars. Multiple TikTokers have made videos addressing the issue and urging the bars where it happens most frequently to do something about it.
According to the WeHo Times, “A crime report by the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station for the month of February, lists 34 stolen cellphones in WeHo, noting that a lot of cellphone thefts go unreported. WeHo Sheriffs categorizes a cellphone theft as grand theft.”
One creator, Jacob Jauregui (@JacobJauregui2), made a video explaining his experience during a Pride event in West Hollywood earlier this month. He says he saw the woman who pickpocketed him in WeHo and claimed that “they work in pairs.” According to Jauregui, it was a woman who allegedly took his phone and then handed it off to a man before later meeting up with a group of people. The pickpockets then allegedly took all the stolen phones to a car and drove off. He says he followed them and went “Nancy Drew” on them.
@jacobjauregui2 #stitch with @conoremcgrath This is a bigger problem and way more organized than you might think #wehopride #westhollywood #gay #lgbt #pickpocket #crimering #storytime ♬ original sound – Jacob Jauregui
In the second part of the series, the creator explains what happened. He says went to a bar with his friends and on his way to another bar, a woman bumped into him and reportedly stole his phone from inside his fanny pack. He says he knew immediately something was up and decided to confront her. Jauregui says the girl denied having the phone and he eventually walked off. Afterward, the creator says he and his friend decided to follow the woman until she and another man reportedly met up with a group of people in an alley.
@jacobjauregui2 Reply to @bigirmz #greenscreen #wehopride #pickpocket #theft #lgbt #gay #CatchChobaniOatmilk ♬ Stranger Things – Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein
Jauregui goes on to say that there really isn’t much else they could do and believes the phones will most likely get broken up into parts for sale.
The creator’s original video was seen over 336,000 times and the comments section was flooded with people who had a similar experience.
“It’s absolutely organised. The Abbey is one of the worst but it happens at every weho bar and security is 100% in on it,” a user claimed, referring to the West Hollywood gay bar.
“Yup mine got stolen at The Abby Sunday,” one person commented.
“I literally use a burner phone when I go out in weho now,” a third wrote.
Others offered advice on how to keep one’s belongings safe when going out.
“I always wear a like belt bag and use the twist ties on bread to hold the zippers closed I’m so paranoid [at this point],” a TikTok user wrote.
Another viewer said, “I 100% suggest a money belt or fanny pack. Don’t leave anything in your pockets or back at big events or clubs. Lulu’s belt bag is a great option.”
The Daily Dot reached out to the creator via TikTok comment for this story.
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*First Published: Jun 17, 2022, 3:58 pm CDT
Moises Mendez II
Moises Mendez II is a recent graduate from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. He is a freelance journalist based in New York City writing about everything from music to LGBTQ issues.