Now Playing

Scott Wiener Is Robbed, Lowballs Thieves, Gets Phone Back

Supervisor victim of "not very well-thought-out crime."


Smartphones are ubiquitous in this city, as are smartphone robberies; cops here have labeled the practice "Apple Picking" in a clever reference to one company's market dominance and the ease of nabbing low-hanging fruit.

This was made apparent to Supervisor Scott Wiener on Friday when a trio of miscreants made off with his iPhone on 16th and Valencia in the early evening. Unlike so many robberies, however, this one concluded with Wiener repossessing his iPhone—"I wouldn't have it any other way"—and the alleged ringleader in police custody. 

It started with a woman snatching the device out of Wiener's hand, and his demand that she return it. She purportedly agreed to do so—for $500. "I told them that, for $500, they could just keep the phone," Wiener recalls. 

Negotiating ensued. Wiener, a Harvard lawyer (with a taste for deal-making), talked the woman down to $200. At this point, Wiener says, the woman and two male accomplices chaperoned him to an ATM. "She said if I yelled or gestured to anybody she'd mace me and she showed me a black cannister," Wiener says. "She indicated one of the guys had a gun." 

Wiener extracted the agreed-upon ransom from the ATM. "It was an opportunity to get them on video," he says. Also, a Wells Fargo security guard witnessed the transaction, and called the cops (16th and Valencia is, notably, only one block from Mission Station). 

Wiener says that the woman was apprehended not long thereafter on Friday evening, though not in his presence. The whereabouts of her two purported assistants are not known. As this is an ongoing investigation, he was loath to surrender too many details, but he did agree that this was "not a very well-thought-out crime." Calls to the police have not yet been returned—nor, at this point, has Wiener's $200. 

It wasn't a pleasant start to the weekend for the Castro supervisor. But it was a milestone. "I had made it 45 years without being victimized," he said.

Have feedback? Email us at
Email Joe Eskenazi at
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Joe Eskenazi on Twitter @EskSF