Santa Ana police are searching for a man accused of stealing an iPhone from a teenage girl who died while trying to stop the robbery.
The 15-year-old girl was walking with her 7-year-old sister near the 1000 block of West Warner Avenue in Santa Ana at midday Thursday when she was approached by a man who stole her phone, said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, a spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department.
As he approached the girls, the man asked the older sister for the time before "forcefully taking her phone" and running, Bertagna said. He fled to a nearby light gray or silver Pontiac, authorities said. The vehicle was driven by a second, unknown person.
As the Pontiac began driving away, the teenager, identified by police as Rubi Rubio, jumped onto the trunk and held on briefly. Witnesses told police that the driver "swerved back and forth in what appeared to be an intentional manner to get her off the car," Bertagna said.
The girl fell from the vehicle and died from her injuries on Saturday.
Rubi was a sophomore at Godinez Fundamental High School in Santa Ana, Bertagna said. She had gotten the iPhone from her family as a reward for keeping good grades, he said.
The man accused of stealing the phone has been described by police as a Latino in his late 20s to early 30s. He has a medium build and is about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 and was wearing a black baseball hat, white tank top and light-colored jeans, the department said.
The iPhone has been recovered, police said. At some point, the phone was discarded by one of the suspects and picked up by a resident who turned it in to police, Bertagna said.
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7:07 p.m.: This story has been updated to add the victim's name, include additional details about the incident and comments from a police spokesman.