LAS VEGAS -- Metro police have announced the arrest of another person in connection with alleged cell phone theft rings in the southwest Las Vegas valley.
According to police, young men and a woman were looking for people who appeared distracted or inattentive to their surroundings. After finding a potential victim, they would run by the person, grab the phone and run to a waiting vehicle. Some people were either talking or texting on their phones when they were stolen from them, police said.
Heather M. Serenbetz, 20, of Las Vegas, was arrested on several charges, including nine counts of grand larceny, 10 counts of burglary and six counts to commit larceny from a person. According to police Serenbetz drove the getaway vehicle. According to the Clark County Detention Center, she was arrested Aug. 27.
Also arrested were Joseph Neal Cardenas, 24, and Justin Profit, 18, both of Las Vegas.
Cardenas was booked Aug, 29 on several charges, including three counts of burglary, two counts of grand larceny and eight counts of larceny from a person.
Profit, who was arrested Aug. 8, was booked on charges that include three counts of burglary, four counts of larceny from a person, grand larceny and burglary.
Police said Profit and Cardenas were part of separate rings committing the phone thefts.
The phones stolen were primarily the latest generation of iPhones, police said.
Police said the cell phone thefts concern them for two reasons: the stolen phones are easily resold, leading police to believe this crime will become more prevalent; and because of a high likelihood the crime will escalate into a violent confrontation between the thief and either the victim or a bystander.
Police said they are continuing their investigation and are also looking into who might have been knowingly buying the stolen cell phones.
Anyone with information concerning these crimes is urged to contact Metro's Enterprise Area Command Problem Solving Unit at 702-828-2843 or call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.
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