Metro Vancouver Transit Police say they’ve arrested a woman accused of stealing an iPhone from a man with physical disabilities on a transit bus in Surrey.
Nathan Saluna, 19, uses a wheelchair and is paralyzed in one hand, and relied on the large screen and accessibility features of his iPhone 6S to communicate with his mother and help with his classes.
Police said the Kwantlen Polytechnic University student was on the 96 B-Line near 80th Avenue and King George boulevard on Sept. 12, when the woman allegedly approached him, ripped the phone out of his hand and fled the bus.
Police circulated grainy security video of the suspect after the theft, and investigators said a member of the public recognized her loitering outside of a Surrey convenience store and called police.
The 32-year-old woman of no fixed address was arrested, and has been released pending a promise to appear at an Oct. 22 court date.
Investigators said the suspect is “well known to police.”
The details of the incident sparked a wave of public support for Saluna, with multiple people offering to replace his handset.
The responding transit police officers even chipped in out of their own pocket to pay off the balance Saluna owed on his older phone.
Eventually, Telus provided a brand new iPhone 11 Pro to replace his stolen unit.