OAKLAND -- A 15-year-old high school dropout was arrested Tuesday morning for stealing a woman's iPhone Monday in downtown, telling police he later sold the phone for money to buy marijuana, investigators said.

Police are investigating whether the youth may be involved in similar thefts.

His name was not released because of his age. Police said he is an Oakland resident who regularly hangs out in downtown.

The 28-year-old victim was at 15th and Franklin streets about 9:30 a.m. Monday when her $400 phone was snatched from her hand by the teen who ran off. Police said an Oakland Ambassador, part of a merchants' funded private security officer program, witnessed the theft but could not catch the teen. But the same ambassador saw him about 8 a.m. Tuesday near 14th Street and Broadway and contacted police. He was captured after a foot chase.

Officer Doug Keely said the youth admitted taking the woman's phone, getting on a BART train to San Francisco where he went to Civic Center and sold the phone to someone "for a couple hundred dollars."

Keely said the youth told him and Officer Jen Farrell he needed money to "keep up" with his marijuana habit. The youth said he smoked at least $200 worth of marijuana every few days, Keely said.

The suspect was arrested on suspicion of grand theft and was taken to Alameda County Juvenile Hall.



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