Florida Man Suspected in Cell Phone Theft Operation Arrested in Downtown Nashville

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An Illinois woman’s determination to get back her stolen iPhone that was taken from a 3rd Avenue South restaurant has led to the arrest of a Miami, Florida man who is suspected of being part of an organized cell phone theft operation.

Orelvy Hernandez Montero, 54, is jailed on two counts of felony theft and one count of misdemeanor theft. He remains under investigation.

Early Sunday morning, the 25-year-old victim was inside Layer Cake restaurant on 3rd Avenue South when she discovered that her $1200 iPhone was missing from her purse. The victim was able to track the phone via her Apple Watch to a parking lot behind the restaurant. She approached officers from the downtown Entertainment District Unit and asked for help.

Officers went to the parking lot and located a maroon Jeep Waggoneer from which the victim’s phone was pinging. The phone was clearly visible inside the Jeep. Surveillance cameras in the area showed a man, subsequently identified as Montero, coming and going from the vehicle. As officers conducted surveillance on the Jeep, Montero returned, saw the police, and jumped into an Uber. He was taken into custody before the Uber could leave. Inside Montero’s pocket was a key to the Jeep. Montero was taken to the Central Precinct, where he refused to answer detectives’ questions. The Jeep was impounded.

During the execution of a search warrant on the Jeep, 17 cell phones, many of them wrapped in aluminum foil (an attempt to diminish their signals), were recovered. Also found were a laptop computer and a woman’s wallet. One of the phones was quickly identified as being stolen Saturday night from a man’s pocket while he was inside Kid Rock’s bar on Broadway. The wallet was stolen from a Dothan, Alabama, woman Saturday night while she was in Jason Aldean’s bar on Broadway.

The investigation, being led by Central Precinct Detective Brent Fisher, is continuing to identify the owners of the other phones and the laptop found in the Jeep.

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