New York teenagers are turning to theft to feed their iPod habit, according to the New York Times.

The white earphone cables help criminals identify potential targets, and the increasing prevalence of the music player on New York's underground has driven some users to pay less attention to their iPod security, "because everyone on my train has one".

A recent rise in felonies on the New York subway has been "driven by an increase in iPod thefts", police said. Such thefts "rarely involve" physical assault, the authorities said.

"iPods are definitely part of the newest items to be stolen and appear to be driving the recent spike in subway robberies," Paul Browne, the Police Department's deputy commissioner for public information, told the New York Times.

Perhaps older urban commuters have less to fear: the report states that thieves and victims tend to be teenagers.