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A crazy iPad theft witnessed by '50,000'

San Francisco sees an iPad theft that leads to a car chase and injuries. All, it seems, for nothing more than a tablet.

CBS San Francisco screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When it comes to iPads, there seems little sense of proportion.

Some heads are still spinning after an iPad got swiped in San Francisco yesterday, and the alleged thieves then went on a rampage in order, it seems, merely to get away.

The way the San Francisco Chronicle tells it, the suspects took a backpack containing the iPad from a woman walking along the street.

They made one tiny mistake. At least initially.

"We had 50,000 witnesses who saw it and called," Capt. Ann Mannix of the San Francisco Police Department told the Chronicle.

Yes, it's never too good to perpetrate a theft when quite a few people may well see you do it. It's likely they will then call the police, offering details of your getaway car.

These folks then allegedly hit a minivan, seriously injuring its driver. Debris from the accident also hit a child in a nearby playground.

It seems, quite simply, that iPad and iPhone theft is good business.

A couple of days ago, it was said that thefts of two of Apple's two more portable gadgets had risen 40 percent in New York.

However, Mannix told the Chronicle the problem was just as bad in San Francisco: "It's a chronic, chronic problem. There is such a high resale value for iPads and iPhones -- criminals are taking them left and right. And recently they're not just taking them, but they're assaulting people severely."

These particular suspects -- three have now been arrested -- seem to have compounded their craziness at every turn.

They sideswiped a van belonging to local CBS station KPIX. As it happens, the news crew was about to report on a meeting about community safety, after a series of local smartphone muggings.

This theft occurred in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of the city, one that tends to be more renowned for its lack of parking spots than for car chases.

One can only hope that those injured recover completely.

Of course, this being San Francisco, there will be those also concerned that the iPad didn't get scratched.