AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dozens of people reported their phones are gone following the first weekend of ACL Fest, according to APD.
“While most people come to these events and festivals to listen to music, have a couple of drinks, relax and have fun, some people have made it their business to attend these festivals simply for doing nothing more than stealing stuff,” said APD Sergeant Noel Guerin, who oversees property crime investigations in South Austin. “So, absolutely I think there is a criminal nexus that is organized, that trains and does a very good job taking people’s stuff from them when they’re not paying attention.”
Lake Travis High School senior Caden Brown says his phone went missing while he was at the 21 Savage Show, just as it was getting dark.
“I just got done filming, and I put it in my pocket, and the people started mosh pitting, just jumping around pushing, and then I noticed I got bumped really hard in the back, and then after that a few moments later, I checked for the phone to continue recording, and it was gone,” Brown said.
At first, Brown says he questioned whether his phone had just fallen out of his front pocket. But he says while in the Lost and Found line, several others said they’d been bumped and then realized their phone was missing in the same way, at the same performance.
Brown says he’s also spoken to a number of his classmates whose phones went missing at the festival, as well.
“Some people got just bumped,” Brown said. “Some people had their bags torn open.”
Sergeant Guerin says so far, APD has gotten 43 reports of lost or stolen phones, which is down from the number reported during the first weekend last year. However, that number could grow as more people report their phones were lost or stolen.
Austin police hope that a visibly increased police presence this year helps deter some thieves.
Sergeant Guerin says ACL goers should keep their phones and wallets tucked away, on the front side of their bodies, whether in a fanny pack, front pocket or front-facing backpack.
“Anything to keep your phone or your wallet or your money or your cash somewhere where you can see it and kind of be able to keep an eye on it is always a good idea,” Guerin said.
Guerin also warns people planning to attend the second weekend of the festival not to keep their IDs or credits card in pockets on phone cases. He recommends keeping those in a separate, safe space.