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'Wrong blind person. Wrong day': Blind reporter explains how he got his phone back from a thief.

He used his sense of hearing.

sean dilley, blind bbc reporter, crimes disabled people

People with disabilities are often victims of crime.

Sean Dilley, a blind news reporter and project lead for the BBC’s Reframing Disability Programme, was taking a break from work in the early morning hours on Tuesday, December 27, when a robber rode by on a bicycle and snatched his iPhone 14.

However, the thief didn’t know who he was messing with and Dilley was able to get his phone back.

"A man on a bike just SNATCHED and stole my iPhone from my hand, wrong blind person, wrong day. Jumped on him, safely detained and got my phone back. Quite a few cuts and bruises,” Dilley wrote on Twitter.

"I took a running jump and dive on the thief and knocked him off his bike and onto the floor I recover my phone, advised him that he was detained and called @ metpoliceuk on 999,” he continued. “I did let him go after a few minutes, but only when others arrive to help me. I absolutely could have continued to detain the gentleman, but I got my phone back and I actually didn’t want to risk injuring him I had him safely, detained on the floor, with my body weight across his legs and his wrists held to the floor."


After Dilley let him go, the robber fled the scene of the crime. “The suspect left the scene in the direction of Greenwell Street. Enquiries are ongoing to locate them,” the Met Police said in a statement.

Although we should never underestimate people with disabilities, it is pretty incredible for someone born with congenital blindness and uses a guide dog to be able to take down a mugger and get his phone back.

After the incident, Dilley admitted that it was “stupid” for him to have put himself in harm’s way, but he was still proud of himself for getting his phone back.

Dilley was able to locate the thief using his hearing.

People were concerned that Dilley was hurt. But apart from minor scrapes, he was fine.

Dilley’s story shows we should never underestimate how tough people with disabilities can be but it also highlights an issue that needs more attention. Disabled people are more likely to be victims of crime.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Persons with disabilities were victims of 26% of all nonfatal violent crime while accounting for about 12% of the population” from 2009 to 2019. The study also states that one in three people who are victims of robbery has at least one disability and the rate of violent victimization for people with disabilities is almost four times that of those without.

The highest rates of victimization are among people with cognitive disabilities. They are about 7 times more likely to be victims of violent crimes than people without disabilities.

Dilley was brave to go after his assailant to get his phone back and is a wonderful example of courage. Let’s hope that his bravery dissuades other criminals from victimizing people with disabilities.

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