The incident occurred April 15, in the borough of Queens, The New York Times reported Friday. Police Officer Haaris Hamid, who responded when a woman's phone was snatched from her hand, used Find My iPhone on his own phone and quickly realized the stolen phone -- and presumably the thief -- was on board a No. 7 train heading toward Manhattan on the elevated line that runs above Roosevelt Avenue.
Hamid gave chase to the train, stopping at every station to make sure no one matching the description of the thief had gotten off.
Like Gene Hackman as New York Police Detective Popeye Doyle, Hamid weaved around pillars and dodged other traffic.
"I was like, 'Oh my God, this is crazy,'" Hamid said. "It was seriously like a movie."
After the Metropolitan Transportation Authority halted the train just outside the Junction Boulevard station, Hamid and other officers boarded. Going car to car, he spotted a young man he thought he had seen before on the street just before the chase began.
The man denied being the thief, but when Hamid got one of the officers waiting with the victim to dial her phone number his back pocket started ringing.
Jordan Osborne, 19, admitted he had stolen the phone, hoping to sell it, police said.