12 charged following investigation into cellphone theft, fraud operation in Minneapolis

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Authorities say formal charges have been filed against a dozen people who allegedly victimized more than 40 people while operating a cellphone theft ring.

According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the ring operated for more than a year in the downtown area of Minneapolis.

In addition to stealing phones, a complaint filed by County Attorney Mike Freeman says the 12 suspects also moved money from the victims’ phones to people associated with the theft ring. The document also states the stolen phones were sold locally and outside of the United States.

Authorities say the suspects, listed below, often targeted people who were leaving bars in the area at the time of bar close, with some taking phones by force. However, authorities say the suspects would make sure the victim unlocked a phone before taking it so money could be moved from the accounts using services such as Venmo, Zelle and Coinbase.

Eventually, the suspects allegedly funneled phones to a man identified as Zhongshuang Su, nicknamed “the iPhone Man,” who would then sell the phones.

Authorities state more than four dozen phones were sent to Hong Kong and more than two dozen other phones were sent to Su’s employer.

Overall, the thefts are said to have cost a total of more than $300,000.

The operation allegedly ran from June 2021 through May 2022.

The suspects were identified as:

  • 18-year-old Charlie Pryor Jr. of St. Paul,
  • 41-year-old Charlie Pryor Sr. of St. Paul,
  • 25-year-old Aaron Johnson of St. Paul,
  • 21-year-old Sharlotte Green of St. Paul,
  • 23-year-old Alfonze Stuckey of St. Paul,
  • 23-year-old Sherrod Lamar of St. Paul,
  • 19-year-old Antonio Green of St. Paul,
  • 18-year-old Emarion White of St. Paul,
  • 26-year-old Heiron Birts of Minneapolis,
  • 26-year-old David Mullins of Minneapolis,
  • 32-year-old Zhongshuang Su, or Brandon Su, of Minneapolis,
  • 22-year-old Lawrence Miles of Bloomington.

If convicted of charges, which authorities say are considered racketeering crimes, the suspects could face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of three times the gross value gained during the operation, as well as other costs.