In January, Dallas police arrested three suspects in a string of cell phone robberies in Lake Highlands. Last week, another neighbor, Brian Sullivan, was robbed as he jogged the trail near Flag Pole Hill. Much like the previous cases, teens wearing hoodies wanted just one thing – his cell phone.

“I was on my first hill set, and three-fourths of the way up, I see two guys standing by this tree,” Sullivan said. “It seemed off. Once I got even with them, the guy pulled a gun. I saw them the whole time, but nobody expects to run by someone and have them pull a gun on you.”

A witness called 911, but the two attackers escaped with a getaway driver.

In the previous Lake Highlands robberies, no gun was displayed, but a man was badly beaten, and a real estate agent was injured.

Kiosks inside Walmart exchange cash for cell phones. Depending on the make, model and age of the phone, sellers can walk away with up to $200. Police say it’s helpful if users know their International Mobile Equipment Identity, or IMEI, number on their phone. If a phone is stolen, that will help authorities track it. On an iPhone, it can be found at the bottom of the About page under General Settings.

“This guy was at a bad enough point in his life that he had to rob my cell phone,” Sullivan said. “It does get you on edge. When a situation like this happens, you’re grateful you’re still alive. The second thing you do is try and learn from it. It was at dusk. I thought it was a safe road, but if you’re going to be working out, you’ve got to know where you’re at.”

Police say neighbors using the extensive trail system in Dallas can enhance safety by following a few tips: walk or jog with a buddy or dog, don’t stop and become distracted by looking at your phone and don’t jog late at night or on sections of dark trail.

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Sullivan is a familiar face around the neighborhood, where he can be found walking his dog Mr. Wally Wiggles. Wally tours Dallas neighborhoods and poses with Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens and other hot rods for his Instagram account. But Wally’s account has more to it than cars that belong in pop songs. The captions are filled with personal accounts of Sullivan’s struggles with mental health, alcoholism and depression.

Sullivan, who is training for an Ironman Triathlon, says he won’t let the robbery stop him.

“It’s just about getting awareness out there and having people be alert,” he says. “It’s not a dangerous part of town. This is the last place I expected it to happen.”

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