Pickpockets steal dozens of phones from Hangout Fest


The first day of Hangout Fest is in full swing but the fun was short lived for dozens of festival goers who were targeted by thieves.

It's a 3-day party under the sun that keeps the crowds coming back year after year.

The Hangout Festival never ceases to draw thousands from across the country with its diverse musical acts and beachside location.

"It's just unbelievable, it's a great experience every time," said one festival goer.

And part of what makes the festival a can't miss event, folks say, is the hospitality.

"Everybody talks to everybody you know. We're all looking out for each other. I don't see any criminal activity. We just watch out for each other," said another festival goer.

But while many are hospitable, some are taking advantage of festival goers.

Only hours after Hangout Fest opened for 2017, dozens of festival goers have reportedly been the target of thieves.

The manager of the AT&T in Orange Beach says they've had 35 festival goers come in today to file insurance claims or to get replacement phones.

According to a spokesperson, the customers say the thieves have been reaching into pockets and even bags.

One person who needed a replacement said someone reached into their backpack and when they grabbed the would-be thief's arm, he or she ran away.

Judson Wheeler and Austin Hicks said they've been to numerous festivals and they aren't surprised by the thefts.

"It's definitely something to watch out for. There's been too many festivals where hundreds of phones have been stolen. Like at Coachella, 300 iPhones got stolen. Plus wallets and stuff. You definitely gotta watch out for that," said Wheeler.

Gulf Shores Police have confirmed 7 reports of stolen cell phones but said their is no suspect description or MO.

LOCAL 15 spoke to festival goers today who say they've heard about the thefts and are keeping a close eye on their belongings.

"As long as I go home with my phone and wallet, I'll be fine," said a festival goer.

If you're headed to Hangout Fest, officials stress to keep any valuables in a safe place.