Twelve people have been charged with running a highly organized criminal enterprise that operated a cell phone theft ring in downtown Minneapolis for more than a year and killed more than 40 people, the office of the Chief Justice said Tuesday. Hennepin County District Attorney.
The charges were brought as crimes of racketeering (RICO), which occurs when a person is associated with a business and participates in a pattern of criminal activity. Those charged include:
- Aaron Johnson, 25, of St. Paul.
- Sharlotte Green, 21, of St. Paul.
- Charlie Pryor Jr., 18, of St. Paul.
- Charlie Pryor Sr., 41, of St. Paul.
- Lawrence Miles, 22, of Bloomington.
- Heiron Birts, 26, of Minneapolis.
- Alfonze Stuckey, 23, of St. Paul.
- Sherrod Lamar, 23, of St. Paul.
- Emarion White, 18, of St. Paul.
- Antonio Green, 19, of St. Paul.
- David Mullins, 26, of Minneapolis.
- Zhongshuang Su, aka “Brandon Su”, of Minneapolis.
According to the complaint, from June 2021 to May 2022, these twelve people operated as a business to systematically steal cell phones, fraudulently transfer funds from the victims’ phones to individuals associated with the network of thieves, and then resell the stolen cell phones locally. and internationally.
Defendants often targeted intoxicated people in downtown Minneapolis when the bar closed. In some circumstances, defendants took victims’ phones by force or intimidation. At other times, defendants would approach victims in a friendly manner and ask for their phone so the defendant could add himself to a social media platform. The accused would ensure that the victim unlocks their phone before handing over the phone to another accused in the illegal operation who would transfer money from the victim’s accounts to the accused’s accounts using payment services mobile such as Venmo, Zelle and Coinbase.
After months of hard work by law enforcement, it was determined that the defendants would pass phones to Mr. Su, nicknamed “the iPhone Man”, who would sell the phones stolen in the scheme to people. or local institutions and in China. Nearly 50 phone shipments were sent to Hong Kong, while another 30 shipments were sent to the address of a Minneapolis hotpot restaurant that Mr. Su employs.
As part of their coordinated scheme, the thefts and burglaries resulted in losses estimated at over $300,000:
- Actual cash: $159,797.33
- Cryptocurrency: $85,283.34
- Value of stolen phones (estimated): $25,267.00
- Money attempt: $32,086.07
The complaint describes 33 separate incidents that were organized by the company. The defendants are related to each other in several ways:
- Multiple pairs of acknowledgments share an address.
- Two of the defendants are romantically involved.
- Several pairs of defendants are related to each other, including two cousins and two father and son.
If found guilty, the defendants face multiple possible penalties: imprisonment for up to 20 years; a maximum fine equal to three times the gross value earned during the operation; and legal costs and costs of investigation and prosecution.
The charges follow a groundbreaking and thorough joint investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The Hennepin County District Attorney’s Office Complex Prosecutions Unit, which will handle this case, worked closely with law enforcement to bring the racketeering charges.