Three arrested for stealing Egyptian journalist's phone during live broadcast

One thief's identity was revealed as phone’s camera remained on as he sped away

Three Egyptians were arrested on Tuesday night for stealing a journalist's phone while the correspondent was filming live from the streets of Cairo, the country's Interior Ministry said.

The ministry said its officials used “modern technology” to identify the thief from the live broadcast which was widely circulated on social media.

The correspondent's evidence was also instrumental in apprehending the thief and his accomplices, the ministry said.

All three, who have criminal records, confessed to conspiring to snatch mobile phones from unwitting pedestrians.

The thief interrupted the live broadcast on Tuesday when he stole the phone of the journalist, who was covering the aftermath of a 6.1-magnitude earthquake that struck the Eastern Mediterranean on Tuesday morning.

Viewers joined in the search for the man as the phone's camera was left rolling live to thousands of people. His face was eventually revealed as he sped away on his motorbike, smoking a cigarette.

The correspondent was later revealed to be employed by the privately owned daily Youm7.

The thief, who was passing by on a motorbike while the correspondent walked slowly down a motorway, snatched the phone and placed it in his lap, giving viewers of the internet broadcast a full view of his face.

In the footage he is seen looking nervously behind him to check if anyone is in pursuit.

The ministry said its investigations revealed that the motorbike used in the theft was unlicensed.

More than 20,000 people were tuned in to the correspondent’s broadcast when the phone was stolen and minutes afterwards, social media platforms in Egypt erupted with humorous commentary on the thief’s misfortune, with some calling him a fool for letting so many people see his face while he committed the crime.

The epicentre of Tuesday's earthquake was in the Eastern Mediterranean but resounding aftershocks were felt as far away as Cairo, 165 kilometres south of the Mediterranean.

Updated: October 20th 2021, 9:57 AM