WAUKESHA (WITI) — Three men from Chicago are facing charges after they allegedly obtained cell phones and other accessories from two different Verizon Wireless stores in the Milwaukee area on October 11th while using other individuals’ account information.
The accused — 21-year-old Kyndall Barnes, 22-year-old Tyrone Mixon and 22-year-old Robert Robinson are each facing one count of identity theft. Robinson is facing an additional charge of identity theft and one count of obstructing an officer.
According to the criminal complaint, police were called to the Verizon Wireless on Sunset Drive in Waukesha on October 11th for a fraud-in-progress complaint. Verizon Wireless told police that two male subjects, later identified as Mixon and Barnes, had entered the store and were attempting to purchase cell phones under other peoples’ account.
When police arrived on the scene, they were advised that a third suspect, later identified Robert Robinson, was waiting in a getaway vehicle nearby.
Police say Barnes and Mixon were arrested at the scene after they received documents from Verizon Wireless that appeared to show that they defrauded another Verizon accountholder. Robinson was also taken into custody after a short foot pursuit.
According to the criminal complaint, Verizon Wireless managers told police that they were informed about a fraud ring based out of Chicago by their corporate security investigator two weeks prior to the incident.
The complaint indicates that the fraud ring was somehow linking stolen social security numbers from a hospital in the South to Verizon phone numbers. Suspects will then contact Verizon Wireless by telephone and access accounts with the stolen social security numbers.
Once that is done, the suspects will request the primary accountholder’s device to be changed to a device that the fraudulent suspects have in their possession. The suspects then request that they be placed as an authorized user on the victim’s account.
Once the suspects become an authorized user, they are able to enter a Verizon Wireless store and purchase cell phones and other materials, at a discounted rate, under the victim’s cell phone account. Police say once the suspects purchase the phones, they quickly sell them at a higher rate — most likely overseas.
After Mixon, Barnes and Robinson were taken into custody police conducted a search of their vehicle. During the search, police located several notebooks that contained a list of names, phone numbers, and partial or full social security numbers. They also recovered four iPhone 5 cell phones and two boxes of Beats by Dr. Dre high-end music headphones.
Police say two of the phones recovered were obtained at a Verizon Wireless store in Glendale and two were obtained at a Verizon Wireless Store in Wauwatosa. Police say both of these transactions occurred on October 11th.