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Pickpockets Travel More Than 1,000 Miles To Steal Phones At Lollapalooza, But Some Victims Got Their Phones Back

CHICAGO (CBS) -- We all saw it – a sea of people descending upon Grant Park for four days during Lollapalooza.

But a team of crooks saw thousands of pockets ripe for picking. And as CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reported Monday, distance did not deter the group.

Police sources said among the pickpockets at Lollapalooza was a crew of professionals from South Florida, busy taking phones from concert goers. (On Thursday, police charged six people in connection with the thefts.)

Jessica Bauwens posted on TikTok about her phone being stolen at Lollapalooza.

"We were moshing, and once I noticed my phone was gone, obviously all my friends started checking," Bauwens said.

Chicago Police said they recovered more than 120 phones that were stolen during the four-day music festival at Grant Park.

"It's kind of hard to notice because you're being touched all over the place, shoulders are bumping each other so it's hard to know when somebody slips into your pocket super quickly like that," Bauwens said.

Bauwens said she was wearing a clear fanny pack and had her phone in her front pocket. The pickpockets still got it.

"The whole time, I had my hand over the fanny pack - kind of pressing it against my body to really make sure that nothing in the fanny pack was being stolen and my phone wasn't being stolen," she said.

Soon, Bauwens and four of her friends realized their phones were gone.

"I don't understand how people did it, but when you're in those crowds, you're on top of each other," she said.

The TikTok influencer, known for using her platform to combat online predators, posted about going to the Central (1st) District police station to find her phone.

"Me and my friend were kind of asking questions, like, 'How did you catch them?' and they were like: 'We saw it happen. We saw him stealing phones, putting them in his backpack, so we arrested him,'" Bauwens said. "I then asked him, 'Are you undercover?' and he said, 'Something like that.'"

Bauwens said the key to getting her iPhone back was having her Medical ID on the phone. That's how police called her mother and reunited Bauwens with her phone.

Bauwens, a Naperville native, is a college sophomore. Her major is criminology.

Chicago Police have one important tip. If you have white earphones, change the color – because white earbuds are usually a sign, you have an iPhone.

Apple devices are a prime target for thieves.

Police also said not only should you be aware of your surroundings, but you should also know that pickpockets work in groups of two or three.

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