I-Team: Tracking Down Stolen Smartphones - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Tracking Down Stolen Smartphones

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LAS VEGAS -- Having deliveries stolen from a home's front door can be a common and easy way for burglars to take people's stuff.

One Las Vegas man had his cell phone stolen and then tracked down the thief, trying to sell that same cell phone on the Internet. The confrontation was caught on camera by the I-Team.

Mike Cao came to the I-Team explaining that his newly delivered cell phone was stolen, still in its delivery box, from his front door.

He also explained that somebody activated the phone number. Cao noticed when that number appeared on his old phone.

A new phone appearing to have that same serial number showed up listed for sale on Craigslist. Cao and his friends replied to the ad and contacted Metro Police.

The people selling the phone, not knowing they were talking to Cao and his friends, agreed to set up a meeting.

A woman identifying herself only as "Ashley" waited in a pharmacy parking lot. The phone's owner decided that police wouldn't arrive in time to help.

The I-Team cameras had a view of the action.

Cao approached the woman who agreed by text to sell the phone to Cao for $400.

"Where'd you get this?" Cao asked.

"My mom actually got it," she replied.

"Ok," Cao said.

As Cao holds the phone, he identifies it as his. The I-Team then approached the seller for answers.

I-Team reporter Nathan Baca: "Hello, I'm Nathan Baca with Channel 8 News. I want to ask you a few questions about these phones. Can you tell me where you're getting these phones from?"

"Ashley": "Excuse me?"

Baca: "Can you tell me where you're getting these phones from?"

"Ashley: "It's not even mine."

Baca: "It's not even yours? Whose is it then?"

The seller then pauses and looks at a another woman sitting in a nearby car and finally responds.

"Ashley": "I don't know."

Baca then asks the woman in the car to explain the phones.


Baca: "These phones that you're selling right here, where are they coming from?

Driver: "I'm not selling any phones."

The driver looks back at the woman outside the car. She doesn't look happy that the driver is sending Baca right back to her.

"Yeah, but it's not mine," she said looking back at the driver.

Baca: "Then where is the phone from?"

"Ashley": "Why am I?"

Baca: "I just have to ask you a question, ma'am. Where's the phone from?"

"Ashley": "It's not mine."

Baca: "You're trying to sell it , though, for what, $400?"

"Ashley": "It's not --"

At this point, "Ashley" opens the door to the car.

Baca: "Then, whose phone is it?"

Both women appear to get in an argument with each other, while Baca kept asking questions, first to the driver.

Baca: "Can you tell me whose phone it is, then. I'm just confused. You were trying to sell a phone for a few hundred dollars."

"Yes," "Ashley" responded.

Baca: "So whose phone is it? Where did the phone come from?"

Driver: "We bought them."

Baca: "From who? It's his phone."

Driver: "Whose phone is that?"

Baca: "The phone was stolen. The phone is stolen."

"Ashley": "No."

At this point, Baca noticed two young children sitting in the back of the car.

Baca: "Why are you leaving right now? You're just leaving in a hurry. You don't have any answers for us whatsoever?"

Which is when the driver left the parking lot.

"This phone right here, that you got from them, that they tried to sell you for $400. That exactly matches the phone that you bought. That is the exact one?" Baca asked Cao.

"Yes," Cao said.

Baca: "Prove it to us."

Cao: "The serial number on the phone, that is the serial number that they gave me for the phone that was activated this morning."

The woman also tried selling Cao another phone and left it behind when they sped off. Later that night, she sent a text message: "You took my Samsung."

Metro Police did not end up arriving in time to help Cao. He is handing the second phone over to detectives. If it is truly the woman's property, she can pick it up at the nearest police station.

The I-Team reached out to that woman Wednesday and have received no answer.

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