CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) - Cleveland Police are asking for the public's help to identify a trio of thieves. They stole around $18,000 in cell phones from a Radio Shack on the 2700 block of Keith Street.
Cleveland Police say they likely stole the cell phones to sell online. Thanks to a new FCC initiative that puts stolen phones into a database. If you unknowingly buy one, when you go to your phone company to activate it, it'll show up stolen, won't activate and you're out the money.
Cleveland Police say catching these local thieves will protect other stores and their online customers from being ripped off.
Cleveland Police are looking for a woman and two men seen in surveillance images. They're all wearing baggy clothes to stuff dozens of cell phones in. Cleveland Police say they hit the Radio Shack at the 2700 block of Keith Street March 13th.
"While the sales associate was helping another customer, they broke some kind of barrier into the back and where able to steal around 30 cell phones," Cleveland Police Officer Evie West said.
They got away with $18,000 worth of cell phones. The door sensor went off, but they got away before the worker could stop them.
"Then they proceeded to another radio shack which is here in town about two miles from the location of the theft," Officer West said.
That Radio Shack was a lot more crowded though, and police say they must have gotten scared. They left empty-handed, but not without getting their pictures taken.
"There is somebody that's going to look at the news and say, hey I recognize that person and then call in for a tip," Officer West said.
Detectives say they're confident these three are responsible for cell phone thefts from other stores as well-, possibly in surrounding states, then sell them on sites like Ebay or Craigslist.
"They sell the phones for $500 or $600 and if it's a $200, they're still making $200 profit and the people aren't going to be able to use those," Officer West said.
Detectives say catching these three will stop them from hitting other local stores and from scamming people buying phones from them online.
Cleveland Police are alerting police departments in surrounding counties and states of the trio. They ask you have any information on who the suspects are, call the Cleveland Police Department at (423)559-3320.