Crook records theft of iPhone at Huntsville business

Police say this man recorded himself stealing a phone from Smartphone Medics in Huntsville....
Police say this man recorded himself stealing a phone from Smartphone Medics in Huntsville. (Source: Madison County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jan. 22, 2018 at 6:29 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2018 at 5:17 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A local business says someone came in, stole a phone and posted the entire thing on social media.

The simplicity of this crime is what shocked the business owner so much.

All the guy did was craft up a pretty convincing email and then walk away with the phone -- something that can happen to just about anyone who sells items on websites like Facebook or Craigslist.

"It's crazy what people do to get five minutes of fame," said Jeff Sandridge, business owner of Smartphone Medics.

A theft recorded for likes and social media fame. That's what the owner of Smartphone Medics in Huntsville says happened to them on Thursday.

It all started with an ad for iPhones in the Facebook Marketplace.

"He contacted me wanting to buy one," said Dillion Lowery of Smartphone Medics.

So they exchanged information, the buyer came to the store, tried to pay with Paypal and that's when the first red flag was raised.

"When I got that it didn't look normal like the way I usually get them. They normally say Paypal - one word, but this one said Pay Pal - two words," said Lowery.

Sandridge quickly told his employees not to sell the phone.

"I put the phone down to call Jeff to see what was going on and that's when he just decided to take the phone," said Lowery.

They say as soon as they started to realize something was wrong, so did he. He quickly snatched the phone. He ran across three parking lots before jumping in his car and speeding off.

"He actually posted himself stealing it," said Lowery.

"I have your Facebook profile right here and the phone is going to be blacklisted so you might as well bring it back here. He was like, 'Oh, I'm sorry. It was just a joke. It was a scam for attention on Facebook. I want to be Instagram famous," said Sandridge.

Sandridge said he's now out $800.

He wants the phone back and to warn you about how all of this happened.

"A little bit scary that someone would go that far to win followers or friends or whatever and post the whole thing on social media. It makes me worry about more people doing things like that and doing things like that at other businesses," said Sandridge.

Employees at the store shared their surveillance video, Facebook messages, and pictures of the getaway car with police.

The police and store owner later identified a photo of the suspect. He is also wanted in connection to an unrelated gas station robbery. Police are still trying to learn his name. He goes by an alias online.

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