A man has been arrested after allegedly stealing a journalist’s phone straight from his hands during a live broadcast in Egypt.
Mahmoud Ragheb, a reporter for the news site Youm7, was filming the aftermath of an earthquake live from the streets of Cairo when a man on a motorbike sped past and seized his phone.
The alleged thief unknowingly broadcast his face to thousands of viewers as he fled the scene casually smoking a cigarette.
More than 20,000 people were watching the livestream at the time, according to Facebook figures. Many joined in the search for the man as the phone’s camera was left rolling and footage of the incident widely circulated on social media.
Officials from the Ministry of the Interior said they used “modern technology” to identify the suspect from the live broadcast, Youm7 reported.
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The unidentified man was arrested just hours later at his home and taken to Qalyub police station where he reportedly confessed to the crime, the news site said.
The video has attracted more than 6.2m views and 45,000 comments in a little over 24 hours.
According to local media reports, the incident happened on a bridge in Egypt’s fourth-largest city, Shubra Al-Khaimah.
Viewers were quick to mock the seemingly clueless thief, with one commenting he had “died from laughter”, while another questioned why the man had bothered looking behind him while “the whole world is watching you”.
In a statement, Egypt’s ministry of the interior said that the man was “jobless” and that he has since sold the stolen mobile to a trader.
An earthquake, measured by the US Geological Survey as magnitude 6.0, struck off the Greek island of Karpathos early on Tuesday and was felt in nearby countries, including Egypt, Reuters reported.