Seven from Cleveland indicted for stealing nearly $750,000 worth of cell phones from stores across 11 states
Seven people from Cleveland were indicted in federal court for a conspiracy in which they stole nearly $750,000 worth of cell phones and other electronics from shopping malls and kiosks in several states, law enforcement officials said.
Melvin Swinney, 21, Tyron Hicks, 30, Adolph Boyd III, 24, Jerome Goins, 21, Delante Hudson-Frost, 22, Dennis McKenzie, 20, and Padra Graves, 38, were indicted on charges of conspiring to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce. The indictment also charges 13 counts of transporting stolen goods in interstate commerce.
The seven co-defendants and others targeted shopping malls, kiosks, and retailers of cellular telephones and electronic devices. They broke into these stores or locked storage areas in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio, including Summit Mall in Fairlawn and SouthPark Mall in Strongsville, according to the indictment,
The defendants stole the electronic devices, and returned to the Cleveland area to sell the stolen merchandise to individuals, gas stations and independent phone stores, according to the indictment.
The conspirators stole approximately $738,500 worth of cell phones and other electronic devices between April 24 and July 24, 2016, according to the indictment.
An eighth man, Darnell Foster, 20, also of Cleveland, was charged in a related case with one count of transporting stolen goods in interstate commerce.
“This group roamed the eastern half of the United States stealing phones and merchandise worth hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja. “Our partners at the FBI and Cleveland Police are to be commended for breaking up this sophisticated crime ring.”
“This gang-affiliated group traveled to numerous states to break into retail stores to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in electronic devices,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony said. “Due to law enforcement's collaborative efforts, we are able to hold these criminals accountable for their unlawful acts.”
“The criminals named in this indictment have victimized multiple local businesses, causing significant damage and loss,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. “In addition, their crimes spread to multiple states and even overseas, showing what a damaging effect organized crime has on society. I am proud of the work done by the officers and agents in this case and grateful for the strong partnership the Cleveland Division of Police has with the Cleveland Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
Assistant United States Attorneys Megan R. Miller and Elliot D. Morrison are prosecuting the case following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cleveland Division of Police.
If convicted, the court will determine the defendants’ sentences after a review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal records, if any, the defendants’ roles in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum. In most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.