Former cell phone store employee charged with stealing 30 phones

FILE PHOTO

MOUNT PLEASANT, WI – A 23-year-old man was summoned to the Racine County Circuit Court Thursday after being charged with stealing cell phones from Cellular Sales and other mobile phone stores in and around Mt. Pleasant.

Lucus Vernon faces class I felony charges by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office for stealing movable property from his former employer, Cellular Sales. Upon conviction, Vernon could be fined up to $10,000 or face a prison sentence of up to three years and six months, or both.

According to the criminal complaint, a Mount Pleasant police officer responded to a report of theft on July 31, 2019 at Cellular Sales, 5930 Washington Ave. An employee at the store informed the officer that Vernon, who had been employed for a month at Cellular Sales, fraudulently obtained 30 different phones from stores in the area. This included three phones from the store in Mount Pleasant between June 20 and June 27.

The employee explained that Vernon would make sales over the phone and would always sell the iPhone XS Max, paying the taxes with his own cash.

Cellular Sales investigated the purchases because several of them were from out of state. The store employee determined none of the phones were being shipped and Vernon was seen leaving the store with the phones. Vernon’s employment was consequently terminated.

The employee said each of the phones was estimated to be worth $1,000 and Vernon was not given consent to remove the phones from the store without paying for them.

The three phones removed from the Mount Pleasant store were “purchased” by customers residing in New Jersey and the taxes for each were paid for by cash. The investigating officer followed up with two of the three customers, who said they did not purchase phones in Wisconsin.