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San Francisco woman robbed by 7 teens holds headphones for ransom

A stock photo shows a woman with long curly red hair using a pale green cell phone.
A 33-year-old woman's quick thinking and reactions helped turn the tables on a group of seven teenage robbers, police said. | Source: Tim Robberts/Getty Images

A San Francisco woman whom seven teenage boys robbed for her cellphone successfully managed to get her phone back after one of the suspects dropped their headphones, police say.

According to police accounts, the 33-year-old woman's quick thinking and reactions helped get her just-stolen cellphone back from a group of teens who took it.

Around 4:50 p.m. Tuesday, police responded to 13th and Folsom streets on the edge of the city's Mission District for a report of a strong-arm robbery.

When officers arrived, they learned a woman had been walking along Folsom when she was approached by a group of seven teens who demanded her phone and assaulted her before managing to get her phone. As they wrestled it from her, one of the teens dropped a pair of headphones.

a bridge is seen over an intersection
A Google Street View shows the intersection at 13th and Folsom streets in San Francisco. | Source: Google Street View

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The woman managed to grab the headphones and announced that she would break them unless the group gave her phone back.

The group gave her the phone, and the victim handed the headphones back before the suspects fled the area.

A police spokesperson said the woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries but refused medical treatment at the scene. Police added that there have been no arrests made so far.

San Francisco police do not recommend victims of crime attempt to retrieve stolen items themselves.

After a man tracked his stolen car down and recovered it in October, Sgt. Kathryn Winters told The Standard that victims of crime should alert police rather than try to retrieve their belongings alone.

There were reported 365 robberies in the Mission District in the 12 months before Nov. 27, 2023, compared with 362 during the same time period ending in September 2022, according to police incident data analyzed by The Standard. There were 409 reported robberies in the same period ending in 2019.

Citywide, the number of reported robberies has dropped since pre-pandemic 2019, from 35 to 31 incidents per 10,000 residents.

George Kelly can be reached at