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MNPD make arrest in downtown cell phone theft sting

Posted at 5:37 AM, Dec 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 08:05:29-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Metro Nashville Police Department has reached a big break in an investigation into downtown cell phone thefts. One person was arrested while allegedly trying to send dozens of phones out of state.

Metro Police said that they were stolen from downtown bars and an uptick in stolen reports helped lead detectives to find out they were being sent in some cases overseas to China.

Metro detectives say 35-year-old Jhonnatan Nunez Pinilla, of New York, tried to send dozens of cell phones out of state earlier this month through a shipping store.

Pinilla is accused of trying to send around 50 phones on December 5. He allegedly went to the store on Monday to track the package. Officers said that's when they caught him and said he admitted to the thefts. He was detained. Police also detained 26-year-old Luisa Vargas-Daza who was with him. She is charged with conspiring to help Pinilla.

Metro Police said a similar incident that included almost 30 stolen cell phones was stopped in November before they were shipped out.

This is a good reminder to always be aware of your surroundings and to keep an eye on your personal items, making sure they're not left in the open or unattended.