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Young Actress Assaulted, Mugged Over Phone In LA’s Fairfax District

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A young actress was allegedly assaulted and mugged for her cellphone last week in Los Angeles’ Fairfax District.

JT Vancollie said she was walking home from babysitting Friday night when a teenage girl approached her at Sierra Bonita Avenue and 8th Street.

“She said, ‘Hey, I’m trying to get my friend to help me get home. Could I use your cellphone?’” said Vancollie.

The victim said the suspect started dialing repeatedly.

“She starts to run away. I run after her like, ‘Are you kidding… I was trying to help you…like, what are you doing?’” Vancollie told CBS2’s Serene Branson.

The actress said another girl and three teen boys were waiting nearby.

“She says to her other friends who were right there…she said… ‘Get her!’ One of the guys punches me in the face, I fall to the ground, and he steals my purse,” said Vancollie.

She continued, “They punched me so hard my nose started bleeding.”

Vancollie, who has been featured in an anti-bullying campaign, decided to put up flyers in the neighborhood for her missing belongings.

She found her purse, which had been emptied except for an issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Vancollie said she took the magazine to police for fingerprints.

Detectives said “cellphone snatching” is on the rise.

“Now with the new iPhones being so valuable and easy to sell on the black market, we’re seeing an increase in cellphone thefts,” said Sgt. James Tomeo of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Vancollie said people may need to rethink helping a stranger.

“If you’re alone, don’t stop for anyone. As innocent as they look, they might not be,” she said.

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