Man gets more than 3 years in prison for role in phone theft ring, drug possession

Court records show an eighth person has been sentenced for having a role in what prosecutors called a cellphone theft ring that operated in the downtown area of Minneapolis.

Documents show Lawrence Miles Jr., 24, was sentenced to serve 17 months at the St. Cloud prison. He will get 103 days of credit.

Miles was initially charged with one count of racketeering. However, court documents show he was instead sentenced last week for five counts of receiving stolen property after pleading guilty and had the racketeering charge dismissed.

However, that sentence will be served simultaneously with another, which is 40 months at the same prison for one count of first-degree drug possession of at least 25 grams of heroin, according to documents. Miles will be getting 125 days of credit for that sentence.

In addition to stealing phones, a criminal complaint says suspects would also move money from the victims’ phones to people associated with the theft ring, and adds the stolen phones were sold both locally and outside of the United States. Authorities say more than four dozen phones were sent to Hong Kong and more than two dozen were sent to the employer of 32-year-old Zhongshuang Su, who was nicknamed “the iPhone Man.”

Authorities say the suspects 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.

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

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Su was sentenced in early November for four charges of receiving stolen property, while one count of racketeering was dismissed. A judge stayed a year and one-day prison sentence for three years, instead ordering Su to serve one year at the Hennepin County Workhouse, 120 days of community service, three years of supervised probation and pay $3,078 in fees.

Su’s community service sentence was given instead of serving 244 days of confinement, and he also received seven days of credit for time served in the workhouse.

The following people have also been sentenced for their roles in the ring:

  • 18-year-old Charlie Pryor Jr. of St. Paul – sentenced to 41 months in St. Cloud prison with 276 days of credit.
  • 25-year-old Aaron Johnson of St. Paul – sentenced to serve 94 months (nearly eight years) in the St. Cloud prison. In addition, he received 173 days of credit for time previously served.
  • 23-year-old Alfonze Stuckey of St. Paul – was sentenced to just shy of five years in prison.
  • 19-year-old Antonio Green of St. Paul – sentenced to one year of work release and three years of probation
  • 18-year-old Emarion White of St. Paul – was sentenced in October to three years in St. Cloud prison, with credit for 91 days served. He must also pay $128 in fees. He previously had a trial scheduled to begin in March.
  • 26-year-old Heiron Birts of Minneapolis – sentenced to serve 57 months at the St. Cloud prison for the charge, which was stayed for three years. Instead, he will serve 178 days at the Hennepin County Workhouse, followed by three years of supervised probation.

Court records also show the following people will be sentenced at a future date for their roles in the ring:

  • David Mullins Jr. is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 22. He was previously scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 9, but didn’t show up to his hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
  • Sherrod Lamar Jr. is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6.

Meanwhile, Charlie Pryor has a jury trial tentatively scheduled to begin on July 29, and Sharlotte Green continues to be out on warrant.