Police: Man stole cellphone out of victim's hands at light rail station

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A man was arrested Wednesday after allegedly stealing an iPhone from a person sitting at a Tempe light rail stop.

According to police, 21-year-old Lee Edward Bennett was loitering at the Third Street and Mill Avenue light rail station shortly after 10 p.m. and grabbed an iPhone 6 Plus out the victim's hands without using force.

Police said the victim chased Bennett for about 100 yards as Bennett fled northwest on foot, but the victim fell to the ground.

Bennett was detained near Ash Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway. Police said he closely matched the suspect description provided by the victim, but he was not wearing an animal print jacket or a black hat as described.

Bennett allegedly provided a false name, which police learned through state records is the man's alias. Police said Bennett admitted to providing a false name because he had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in Maricopa County Superior Court on a charge of possession of dangerous drugs.

Police said the victim was unable to positively identify Bennett without the distinctive jacket, but the victim's phone was located in Bennett's pocket along a substance that appeared to be marijuana.

According to police, Bennett said he came to Tempe on the light rail with his girlfriend and decided to walk around while she went to get food. He told police he picked up the phone after seeing someone throw it in the bushes.

Police said the incident at the light rail station was captured on video surveillance.

Bennett was arrested on the felony warrant along with charges of theft, possession of marijuana and false reporting to law enforcement. He was booked into the Tempe City Jail.