A YouTube video produced by Metro police explains the prevalence of smart phone thieves. (LVMPD/YouTube)
Joseph Cardenas (LVMPD)
Justin Profit (LVMPD)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
Las Vegas Metro police said recent arrests have uncovered two separate groups of people responsible for stealing cell phones and tablet devices right from the hands of victims.
Detectives said what began as reported theft with some victims turned out to become a criminal ring.
According to police, the suspects, who were primarily young men, look for distracted people who use their phones. While the victims are texting or making a call, the suspects grab the phones and flee on foot to a vehicle waiting nearby, police said.
Detectives said they target the latest generation of Apple "smart phones" and, in some instances, larger tablet devices.
During the investigation, two men – Justin Profit, 18, and Joseph Neal Cardenas, 24 – were charged in connection to the alleged thefts. Police believe both were part of separate but larger rings that targeted people with smart phones.
Police also said the incidents concern authorities out of two reasons: the ease of reselling the devices, which lead to a rise in the crimes; and the high probability of a violent confrontation happening between the suspect and the victim.
Both Profit and Cardenas were charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit grand larceny, among many charges.
Police said the crime rings are believed to be operating in the southwest part of the Las Vegas Valley.