- The Washington Times
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

More than 100 stolen cellphones were recovered from the backpack of a concertgoer arrested Friday at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, according to law enforcement.

Reinaldo De Jesus Henao, 36, was arrested late Friday afternoon inside the Coachella grounds and charged with grand theft and possession of stolen property after authorities found dozens of mobile devices his inside backpack, the Indio Police Department said in a press release Sunday.


Law enforcement credited tech-savvy ticket-holders with helping authorities nab the supposed serial cellphone thief red-handed.

“During the concert several people noticed their phones were missing and immediately activated the ‘Find my Phone’ feature on their phone,” Indio police said Sunday.

“A bunch [of] people activated their ‘find my phone’ and pointed at, ‘Hey, it’s that guy, my phone, my dot, it’s moving with that guy,’” said Sgt. Dan Marshall, according to the New York Post.

Several of the victims followed Mr. Henao through the venue until he was detained by security, according to the statement. Police arrived at the scene moments later and found more than 100 cellphones upon emptying his backpack, the press release said.

Apple and Android devices both offer features intended to help owners locate missing or stolen cellphones. Sgt. Marshall told NBC that he wasn’t sure how or what apps the owners had enabled to find their phones during Friday’s festival, but described the stolen devices mostly as “phablets,” or phones with large screens.

“Cellphones are lost by the hundreds at Coachella, and that has been the case for many years,” he told Gizmodo.

“That type of crime lends itself to what concerts are all about, a lot of people, close proximity, a lot of bumping,” he told NBC. “People carry their phones to have easy access to them, well if it’s easy for you to access, it’s easy for someone else to access.”

Mr. Henao, of New York City, was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Center on Friday and released the following day after posting $10,000 bail, according to inmate records, ABC News reported.

Upwards of 125,000 attendees were expected to attend last weekend’s three-day festival. A second round of performances are slated to begin this Friday, April 21.


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