The iPhone of a a senior judge on D.C.’s Superior Court was stolen while he was on Metro.

On Thursday, about 9:15 a.m. at the Gallery Place station, Senior Judge Stephen Milliken was on his way to work when a young man snatched the iPhone he was using from his hand and ran off.

The judge chased the suspect down to the Green/Yellow line platform and took back what he thought was his iPhone but it was not. The suspect, Metro officials said, broke free from his hold and got away. Metro said detectives are investigating the case. No one was injured.

Metro officials said as “a matter of policy” they don’t release the names of crime victims. The judge was first identified as the crime victim by WAMU.

Dan Stessel, a Metro spokesman, said “it is a crime of opportunity” when someone is carrying an iPhone, Blackberry or cell phone out in the open on Metro.

“ It is the type of thing that we advise customers to take common sense steps to prevent,” Stessel said. He said “these incidents occur near the door of trains or near exits of stations when people aren’t paying attention and they look at their electronic device.”

“A suspect snatches it out of their hands and runs.”

Metro’s advice: Keep cool electronic stuff safe.

Stessel also encouraged users of the latest iPhone 4 version to register their devices with Apple’s free tracking system so that in the event of loss or theft the device can be tracked by GPS.

On Friday around lunchtime, a woman who answered the phone at Milliken’s chambers politely declined to comment. When asked about the judge being robbed of his iPhone, she said, “I’ve been instructed to make no comment and refer all calls to the Metro police.

“Thank you and you have a nice day.”

She then hung up.