A long, drawn-out exchange of text messages between the owners of a stolen cell phone and the man who had it ended up with his arrest after police joined the conversation.
According to police reports:
A 25-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested for possessing stolen property after a woman reported her iPhone 4 phone had been taken while she and her husband shopped in at .
The couple said they suspected that three women who had been near them in the store had something to do with the theft, which occurred after she had briefly set the phone down while looking at merchandise.
Her husband texted a message to his wife’s phone, offering a $100 reward if whoever had it would return it. He soon began a text conversation with someone who said he had bought the phone for $125, did not know it was stolen, wanted no trouble with police, but wanted all the money he had paid reimbursed.
When police arrived, they took over the victims’ end of the conversation, continuing to text until undercover officers posing as the couple set up and completed a meeting in the parking lot of Advance Auto Parts, 4934 W. Fond du Lac Ave. in Milwaukee.
When the male officer announced himself, the man threw down the phone and ran — right into the arms of a backup officer, who took him to the ground.
The man said in a statement that he had been to the mall earlier and might even have been at Champs, but he denied stealing the phone. He said he had bought it from a woman who approached him and said she could no longer make payments on the phone and needed to sell it.
The stolen phone – just bought for her as a birthday present from her husband – was recovered and returned to its owner.