A 15-year-old girl was left shaken after her mobile phone was snatched in the middle of the day.
The incident happened at 3.45pm on Halloween, in Sunderland city centre.
The teenage was walking along the cut between Bridge House and the Empire Cinema in Lambton Street, Sunderland, when a man walking behind her snatched her phone, took out the battery, threw the phone on the floor and made off with the battery.
She was not injured in the incident.
The offender has been described as in his 30s, mixed race, with a short beard.
He was said to be wearing baggy grey tracksuit bottoms, black Nike trainers, a black hooded top and black gloves. He had the hood up over his face.
Officers are carrying out enquiries and are appealing for witnesses. Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 767 3111015.
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.