Prosecutors allege that a year-long mobile phone theft ring in downtown Minneapolis that affected more than 40 individuals and caused $300,000 in damages was managed by eight St. Paul residents and four each from Minneapolis and Bloomington.
Tuesday saw the release of a warrant charging 11 men and 1 women with one count of racketeering each in relation to the “highly organized criminal organization” that operated from June 2021 through May.
According to the defendants’ 26-page criminal complaint:
Some members of the organization would pick up individuals on the streets of downtown, usually drunk bar goers after the bars closed, and take their phones by deception, violence, or other means. Dinkytown also saw one theft.
The owner’s bank account, cash, and digital currency were then accessed by other gang members using the phones, and the money was transferred to other members of the theft ring.
The phones were then sold, often to a single known purchaser, 32-year-old Minneapolis resident Zhongshuang Su, who resold them both domestically and internationally.
The allegations against Su indicate that 30 phone shipments were shipped to a location near to Lepot Chinese Hotpot, a Southeast Minneapolis restaurant Su co-owned, and that close to 50 phone shipments were routed to Hong Kong. Su was dubbed “the iPhone Man” by the organization.
In 33 occurrences that were planned by the organization, according to the criminal complaint, the victims lost $159,000 in cash, $85,000 in cryptocurrencies, and $25,000 in stolen phones.
Aaron Johnson, 25, Sharlotte Green, 21, Charlie Pryor Jr., 18, Charlie Pryor Sr., 41, Alfonze Stuckey, 23, Sherrod Lamar, 23, Emarion White, 18, and Antonio Green, 19, residents of St. Paul; Lawrence Miles, 22, of Bloomington; and Heiron Birts and David Mullins, both 26, of Minneapolis, are also charged alongside Su.
According to the attorney’s office, a racketeering conviction entails a possible sentence of 20 years in jail and a maximum fine equal to three times the gross value of the enterprise.