Police seek 2 men accused of stealing cellphones worth $45,000 from Briarwood Mall
Police are seeking two California men accused of stealing $45,000 worth of cellphones from a Verizon kiosk at Ann Arbor's Briarwood Mall in April.
Warrants were issued earlier this month for a 22-year-old Torrance, Calif. man and a 32-year-old Los Angeles, Calif., man. They each face two counts of larceny, $20,000 or more.
The men are suspected in similar types of smartphone heists in suburban Milwaukee, Wis., and Rockford, Ill., Ann Arbor police said.
On April 14, police were dispatched to Briarwood Mall at 10:12 a.m. after employees of the Verizon kiosk called to report a break-in, Lt. Renee Bush of the Ann Arbor Police Department confirmed.
“(The suspects) walked in and forced open the cabinets,” she said.
Police believe the two men struck early in the morning, around 7 or 8 a.m., when most stores are closed, but the mall is open to people who walk for exercise. The men acted like they worked there, said police. Much of the incident was caught on security video.
Eighty-four cell and smartphones were missing with a value of about $45,000, Bush said.
The men fled the Ann Arbor area, but were later identified via a collaboration between Ann Arbor police and federal authorities. Police did not want to go into details about how the men were identified as it may hamper the ongoing cases, including three in the Milwaukee area and one in Rockford, they said. The men may be involved in an overseas smartphone fencing operation, police said.
Arrest warrants for the two men were filed with the Washtenaw County Trial Court on Oct. 1. AnnArbor.com is not publishing the suspects' names at this point because they have not been captured or arraigned on the charges.