MBTA Riders Swarm, Hold Down Alleged Cell Phone Thief at Stony Brook T in Jamaica Plain

Riders responded to a woman's call "They stole my phone!" and held down a suspect until police could arrest the man.

MBTA passengers rallied to a woman's call of "They stole my phone!" and wrestled a suspect to the floor at .

The incident took place on Friday at 12:24 a.m. Just as an Orange Line train opened its doors, someone grabbed a cell phone from a passenger and fled with two other men. All three had been sitting near the victim: One to her left and two across from her.

The woman's cry for help didn't go unheeded, according to a Transit Police report.

A witness, who had reached the top of the escalator, heard the call and wrapped the main suspect in a bear hug to bring him down. One of the suspects' associates hit the witness twice, briefly freeing the main suspect.

But that didn't last long, as three other riders grabbed the main suspect again and held him down until police arrived.

Police arrested Amin Mohamed, 19, of 783 Washington St., Boston and charged him with unarmed robbery.

The two other men are described as follows: One, who is alleged to have punched the Samaritan, was a black man in his late teens, about 6-1, with a slim build. He wore a gray hooded sweatshirt, flat-brimmed baseball cap, blue jeans and dark colored shoes with white soles. The second man was also black and in his late teens, also about 6-1 with a slim build and wearing a blue hoodie with white markings. He wore black jeans, possibly with red shoes that had white shell toes. He was holding a white T shirt.

The incident comes as Boston Police have issued a about an increase in street robberies in Jamaica Plain. It was not immediately clear if the man arrested Friday is suspected in any of the other recent robberies.

William Dawes April 27, 2012 at 12:45 PM
What I find notable about this is that the actions of the people went directly against the recommendations of the Boston Police; these people did not simply act like sheep, hand over the belongings, and allow the criminal to abscond. The police recommended that people "do not challenge, do not resist, cooperate, never try to apprehend the criminal". The problem with this is that it takes all power away from the citizenry to stop crime, if they freely choose the risk of doing so. Remember that the police, if they are not immediately present to either prevent the crime or arrest the suspect, are essentially an ex post facto force. They arrive after the crime, take notes, and have little chance of catching the criminal. The problem with relying entirely on the police is that they cannot be everywhere all the time, unless you relish the idea of living in a police state, with cameras, drones, and surveillance of your every move. The alternative to a police state where you have given over all power to the government and relinquished all of your rights to "make you completely safe" (which can never actually occur) is for the citizenry to become self-reliant and empowered. In doing so, you actually protect your rights and liberties and strengthen them and yourself in the process. Yes, there is risk to yourself in employing your liberties and acting as these individuals did, but in doing so, I believe they strengthened the community and their sense of cohesion. Kudos.
Matthew April 27, 2012 at 01:17 PM
It doesn't seem to help that the police are telling people to not resist - when people fought back, they caught a criminal.
Rich P April 28, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Something in the middle ...as is always the case. NO resistance which certainly is safer for the samaritan, does quickly create a carte blanche for the criminals. If we think e mails travel fast, such a message of 'free crime without consequence' travels even faster within criminal networks! So I do not know what is best - 100% safe self preservation, let the poor woman struggle for herself against the filthy criminals, or intervene and pounce on the street stalking slime . My gut tells me to pounce ... but what if they have knives or guns? What if some law, makes it a 'crime' to intervene .... meaning, if the criminal is injured in the efforts to subdue him, are the samaritans liable for assault & battery? Maybe society should make it clearer what we can do as samaritans without fear of liability for injuring a criminal. There are more and more examples of ordinary citizens subduing those who seek to harm others - look at the underwear bomber who was taken down by other passengers. We need a clearer system that does encourage citizens to intervene ... while at the same time, offering the good sense advice that there are risks that should not be discounted.
Rich P April 28, 2012 at 06:15 PM
It look like his brain is too large. Seriously. I just heard from an MIT professor that Einstein's brain was smaller than average.
Jane COnlin April 30, 2012 at 10:34 PM
same thing happened to me 6:15 pm on my way home from work on the Orange line inbound to Forest Hills at the Ruggles station 2 years ago... except no one helped and the police refused to respond, stating this was a "T" matter. I chased the assailant into the projects then stopped when he entered a building. Never found out who he was, and I have never been the same since.


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