Man pleads guilty to racketeering charge for role in downtown Minneapolis cell phone ring
Another member of what authorities have called a cellphone theft ring that operated in downtown Minneapolis had entered a guilty plea to a racketeering charge.
According to court records, 25-year-old Sherrod Onail Lamar Jr. entered the plea during an omnibus hearing on Wednesday morning. He is now scheduled to be sentenced on June 6.
Lamar was one of 12 people to be charged for their alleged roles in the ring, which operated from June 2021 through May 2022.
In addition to stealing phones, a criminal complaint says the 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.
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.
So far, out of the 12 people charged, seven – including Su – have been sentenced for their roles:
- 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.
Meanwhile, 27-year-old David Mullins of Minneapolis was convicted of having a role in the ring and was scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 9, however, he failed to show up at the hearing and now has a warrant out for his arrest.
A warrant is also out for 22-year-old Sharlotte Green of St. Paul.
Two others – 42-year-old Charlier Pryor Sr. of St. Paul and 24-year-old Lawrence Miles of Bloomington – both have court hearings scheduled later this month. If convicted, they 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.