A pair of picky thieves in Manhattan in the US have taken the Android-iPhone debate to a new level, according to an NBC New York story.

Three separate incidents have seen students from Columbia University contact police after being stopped on 114th Street and asked to hand over mobile phones to the muggers. The thieves stole one victim’s iPhone, but they reported rejected the opportunity to snatch a Motorola Droid, instead preferring to take cash, and reacted violently when a third victim claimed she did not own the Apple device.

The stories are a shocking example of the value that consumers place on the iPhone compared to an Android-based phone or other manufacturer’s smartphones. Apple’s devices are no longer the most expensive in the market, as a number of new Android devices, such as the Galaxy Nexus, cost more than it in the US.

According to NBC, “students said they were caught somewhere between amusement and alarm”, with one apparently “insulted” that the thieves are not interested in snatching her BlackBerry.

The police are reviewing CCTV footage as they attempt to identify and apprehend the muggers. In the meantime, with the duo at large, I’d be tempted to bust out my antique Nokia 3310 as a dummy phone to prevent hassle.