GPS tracking leads to arrest in Jefferson Parish smartphone robbery

By | September 19, 2013

GPS tracking led authorities to a suspect in the armed robbery of a Jefferson Parish-issued smartphone, and some low-tech detective work sealed the arrest. A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detective who tracked the phone to a Terrytown business located one suspect by the dialing up the stolen phone in his pants pocket, arrest reports said.

The HTC Evo was stolen on Aug. 22 in the 4200 block of Lac Bienville Drive in Harvey, according to Col. John Fortunato, spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. The victim, a male employee not identified by authorities, is employed by the parish’s Community Action Program and was on his lunch break, parish Spokeswoman Kriss Fortunato said.

The robber, armed with a semi-automatic pistol, approached the parish employee about 1:30 p.m. and stole the phone as well as some other property, Fortunato said. The next day, Jefferson Parish officials used a pre-installed GPS application to track the phone to a business in the 1800 block of Stumpf Boulevard in Terrytown, the arrest report said.

Detective Michael Cummings went to the store just before 10 a.m. last Thursday and began chatting up the customers inside. He eventually spotted a phone fitting the description of the stolen device in the pocket of a man investigators identified as Darrel Washington, 22, of Terrytown, the report said.

Cummings confirmed his suspicions, the report says, by calling the stolen phone, which began ringing in Washington’s pocket. Washington gave contradicting stories about how he came upon the stolen phone, the report said.

Cummings arrested Washington, of 721 Hinyub Ave., Terrytown, and booked him at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna with possession of stolen property.

Cummings checked the phone and discovered videos recorded with the device after it was stolen. Washington and two other men appeared in the videos, which were taken by a fourth suspect, the report said.

Cummings eventually identified Joshua London, 24, as the group’s videographer, the arrest report said. Authorities say London confessed to taking the video on a phone he knew he was stolen.

London, also of 721 Hinyub Ave., Terrytown, was booked with possession of stolen property. Neither suspect has been booked with the armed robbery. It’s still under investigation.

Bond for Washington was set at $500, but he was released without posting the bond because of crowding at the jail, court records say.

London’s bond on the stolen property charge was set at $5,000. But London was being held without bond four counts of parole violation. He is on parole after pleading guilty in 2008 to drug dealing and weapons charges.