AUSTIN, Texas – Johan Valbuena Mapica, 33, and Holman Valbuena Malpica, 35, were arrested for stealing cellphones from festival-goers during ACL’s first weekend.
Police said the suspects met the victims they were targeting and then argued with them. The suspects also allegedly got a small screwdriver and used it to remove SIM cards from stolen cell phones.
Police were alerted to the thieves after stealing cell phones from servicemen attending the music festival on Saturday October 2.
On Sunday October 3, the military again attended the festival and saw the same suspects. The suspects were recognized because they were wearing the same clothes as the day before, police said.
One of the service members took pictures of the suspects, police said. The photos were shared with Austin Police Department (APD) officers who worked undercover at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
After officers were alerted to a phone theft near the T-Mobile scene, uniformed officers contacted Johan Valbuena Mapica. Mapica did not have a cell phone with him and was released shortly thereafter.
Police noted in the affidavit, however, that it is not uncommon for thieves to hide the phones until a later date, when they can all be executed outside of the event.
Shortly after, officers were alerted to a cell phone theft near the volleyball courts and the Miller Lite stage. The suspects were seen leaving the area by police and heading towards the Honda scene.
The suspects separated when they entered the observation area of the Honda scene.
Uniformed officers contacted Holman Valbuena Malpica and he was arrested. Holman squirmed a lot during his arrest in an attempt to drop the stolen cell phones he had on him. The cell phones were hidden in a large rubber band he wore around his chest.
Soon after, Johan emerged from the crowd and was taken into custody. While searching Johan, officers found a small screwdriver and a bent paperclip as if it was used as a tool. Johan was using both to remove SIM cards from stolen cell phones, police said.
The police were able to return the stolen cell phones to their rightful owners.
Johan Valbuena Mapica has been charged with illegal use of criminal instruments, a class A misdemeanor. Holman Valbuena Malpica has been charged with tampering with evidence, a third degree felony and theft from a person, a felony in the state prison.
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