Authorities are investigating a possible retail theft ring spanning from Milwaukee to Kenosha.
The thefts occurred at different Sprint store locations, in West Milwaukee, Oak Creek and Kenosha. On Sunday, Nov. 18, at the Sprint on Miller Park Way, two individuals were caught on surveillance footage cutting the display phones, then walking away with them.
The suspects were confronted by employees but continued to steal the phones. The same incident happened at the Sprint in Oak Creek, where display phones were cut and stolen.
"They are getting a little smarter and bringing in something to cut those phones off," said Police Chief Dennis Nasci.
Nasci believes the thieves will sell the phones for cash at buyback stores, online or at cell phones kiosks like ecoATM, a business that offers money for used phones.
"A lot of times they try to sell those to other folks. If the company knows the numbers, they can kill those phones, so it’s really kind of worthless to them," said Nasci.
With the holidays around the corner, Chief Nasci is warning cell phone shoppers to be cautious when purchasing on from an online marketplace.
"I would be cautious about buying a brand new phone that doesn’t have anything else with it. If it doesn’t have a box or a charger and all it is, is a phone and it looks brand new then it probably is a phone that may has been taken in a retail theft. We just don’t want you throwing your money away. We want you to actually get what you’re paying for. So I would just be cautious and careful when you’re buying something off Craigslist," said Nasci.
Anyone with information on the retail theft is asked to contact West Milwaukee Police at 414-645-2151.