Rash of Cell Phone Thefts at The Abbey

Of course you’ll have a drink in one hand while you’re at The Abbey, West Hollywood’s best known gay bar and restaurant. But you probably should have your cell phone in your other hand. Not to text or to see what nearby patrons are on Grindr or Scruff, but to make sure none of your fellow bar patrons steals your phone.

Keep a hand on your cell phone when you're at The Abbey.
Keep a hand on your cell phone when you’re at The Abbey.

At least 159 patrons of The Abbey have reported their cell phones lost or stolen since the beginning of this year, a number that Lt. David Smith of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station described as very high. Ben Coleman, a member of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Commission, told his fellow commissioners on Monday that those actually reported to the Sheriff’s Station were likely a small percentage of the actual thefts.

Coleman told his fellow commissioners that he had reached out to The Abbey’s management suggesting it alert customers by giving them a warning flyer when they present their ID cards for admission or including a “pick pocket” warning on the bar’s napkins, much as it does with “don’t drink and drive” napkins during the holidays. Coleman said they declined to do that.

Smith told WEHOville that such measures might not be very effective given that some of The Abbey’s customers may have been drinking elsewhere when they come to the bar and would not be especially attentive. Smith suggested a broader public information campaign that would reach people before they head to area bars for a night out. Smith said he would be meeting with The Abbey’s managers to discuss the situation. The Abbey’s managers did not return calls from WEHOville seeking comment on what they are doing to address the thefts.

  1. RJC, I saw a woman in a wheelchair at the Halloween Carnival who got up and walked around for a few minutes, then sat back down in the chair and continued to roll. It caught my eye for obvious reasons.

  2. As an aside, a friend had his cellphone stolen on Halloween night, but found it after paying for it! Turns out a woman in a wheelchair was stealing cellphones, and he had a friend track it down with a GPS app and it led straight to the woman in the wheelchair. She denied it three times, but finally gave in when money was mentioned. She stood up, fished thru her bag and produced the phone, for a price. Scam alert!

  3. Some folks only “get it” after a loss or a crash, others never do. Personal responsibility is common sense……otherwise legal consequences quickly follow. One unfortunately can never legislate common sense.

  4. Including a “pick pocket warning” on cocktail napkins, as someone suggests in the above article, would be as INEFFECTIVE as the holiday “don’t drink and drive” warnings on napkins.

    …….and why do “don’t drink and drive” warnings only appear on napkins during the holidays?…..Better public safety advocacy would be to ask for “don’t drink and drive” warnings to be placed on cocktail napkins all year round.

  5. So…The Abbey does more business and sees more customers thru their doors than any other venue in West Hollywood. So, is it surprising that they have the most of this kind of “reported” theft? I’m curious if it is a higher “per capita” than any other venue. And I’m also surprised that “pickpockets” wouldn’t target people’s wallets, rather then their cellphones. Or do people just not carry that much cash around anymore? Lifting someone’s wallet for immediate cash would seem like a much better option. Some people just loose their phone because they have had a cocktail or two, true story. If you call the club the next day, they may have found it, maybe not. Or, you may have lost it somewhere else. If the Abbey has a much higher ratio of customer to cellphone loss than other places, then I’d like to see that analysis. You ARE responsible for your own personal property, including you wallet, purse, cellphone, coat, or whatever, when you are out and about, unless you check it. So, be careful wherever you go. Let’s not single out The Abbey for a problem that crops up in every venue in West Hollywood, and most likely everywhere else for that matter. I think my phone was stolen one night out of my pocket, but it wasn’t at The Abbey. Funny thing was it was a 6 year old phone and relatively worthless 🙂 Wow, that “pickpocket” had a surprise coming 🙂

  6. My niece likes to come to the clubs here in West Hollywood (nu? does she ever come to see us? separate issue….). I’ve told her to only bring her cell phone, her ID & one credit or debit card, to keep them all together & in her boobs. No purses. No wallets.

  7. Again, the issue of personal responsibility comes up. Keep your eyes on your phones. Don’t just stick them in back pockets.

    Hank just put the word out to a lot of people.

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