Cairo court hands phone thief jail term for live-streamed robbery

Ahram Online , Friday 29 Oct 2021

A thief who broadcast his face unawares to thousands of Facebook users while stealing a reporter's cellphone during a live stream last week was handed a one-year prison term, a Cairo court ruled on Thursday.

High Court of Justice
File Photo: The High Court of Justice in Cairo. REUTERS

The court also sentenced a shop owner, who bought the stolen phone, to one month in prison, setting bail at EGP 100 (about $6) pending an appeal.

The first defendant was convicted of robbery and driving the wrong direction on a road, while the second of knowingly buying stolen property.

Reporter Mahmoud Ragheb was live-streaming the aftermath of a small earthquake on the Egyptian Youm7 Facebook page just outside Cairo on 19 October when a young man on a motorbike snatched his phone and sped off.

The live stream showed shaky footage for a few seconds before the robber accidentally switched the broadcast, showing his face to viewers.

The hundreds of viewers initially watching the reporter’s stream quickly grew to thousands who forgot the quake and focused on the live robbery taking place.

Social media outlets were flooded with memes and jokes about the thief, who casually smoked a cigarette while riding his motorbike, checking behind him for pursuers.

The thief took several minutes to realise his mistake and turn off the phone, which allowed authorities to easily recognise him and make an arrest hours later.

Thousands of comments made fun of the robber, describing him as "the worst thief of the month," "the most unfortunate thief in the world," and on a "highway to jail."

The video of the robbery amassed over 24 million views and nearly 50,000 comments in the following hours.

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