Headphones marketed by famed hip-hop star Dr. Dre are now one of the most sought after items by New York City thieves, local authorities say.

According to the New York Post, after a surge in popularity last Christmas season, the pricey “Beats by Dr. Dre” headphones are now being snatched from NYC youths in record numbers.

According to New York’s WABC-TV, there have been 172 complaints of stolen Beats headphones in the city in the last four months.

Police say crooks are assaulting and threatening–and even brandishing weapons at–the wearers of “Beats,” which retail for $300-$500. Some consider the headphones a status symbol.

“They’re very hot among thieves,” a police source told the Post. “It’s like, `I see it. I want it. I can have it. I’m taking it for me, or my sister needs a pair.’ They’re being snatched from teenagers aboard the subways or as they walk from school.”
Incidents have mainly been reported in uptown Manhattan and northern parts of Brooklyn.

In March, a male and a female stole a pair of Beats from a 14 year-old near Columbia University. And on May 9, three men reportedly beat and robbed a 16 year-old for his pair in Long Island.

But the most brazen crime occurred in the Bronx in early May when a thief stole a pair of Beats from a man on a train platform and then jumped on the train tracks after tussling with the victim. He then climbed back up to the platform and slashed the victim with a broken bottle. The incident was filmed and posted on the popular video site WorldStarHipHop.com.

Police later identified the culprit as 22-year-old Francisco Delacruz. He was arrested on May 8.