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Feb. 8, 2010

PHOENIX – Thieves are cashing in on stolen cell phones.

Phoenix Police Sergeant Darren Burch says the phones are prime targets.

“They’re small, they’re expensive, so you get more bang for your buck, literally,” Burch said. “You can have a lot of them in a small, confined space, so it’s easier to traffic the stolen property.”

Burch described two different unsolved armed robberies of cell phone stores.

The first occurred July 31, 2009, at about 3 p.m., near 19th Avenue and Southern Road.

A Hispanic man in his early 20’s walked in with a gun and cranked a round into the chamber.

“(He) literally points it into the face of the clerk, demanding cash and property, which is the cell phones.”

He took the stuff and ran.

The suspect weighed about 200 pounds, with a big build, standing around six-feet tall. He had a goatee at that time.

In the second case, an armed man walked into a Maryvale store in broad daylight.

“He was much more violent in this case,” Burch said. “He walks in, (and) there’s a female clerk alone. She kind of gets a bad feel of the whole situation, the way he walked in and approached her. So she starts going into the back, and then he literally pursues her into the back area, beats on her, throws her on the ground, kicks her. He even bound her before taking all the property.”

This suspect was also Hispanic, between 28 and 30 years old. He stood about six-foot-two-inches and weighed about 200 pounds.

“He is distinctive in the sense that he has acne scars on both cheeks and he has that 602 tattoo on the left side of his neck.”

“These suspects are doing this during normal business hours,” Burch said. “They could have been walked in on by another patron. Who knows what could have occurred. We’re talking both armed with handguns.”