HPD: Smash-and-grab burglaries a possible trend after Wednesday’s cell phone thefts

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Early Thursday morning, Huntsville police officers stand at the entrance of a store with broken glass at their feet. They are looking into the Verizon Wireless on University Drive, one of two Huntsville locations that was hit in smash-and-grab burglaries.

But the early morning discovery quickly took a turn when four men led police on a chase, ultimately crashing into Gate 10 at Redstone Arsenal. The four men were arrested and each face theft and burglary charges.

The store burglaries brought an issue to light: how big of a market is there for stolen cell phones?

“After you steal them, you put them on Craigslist, and people buy them all the time,” said Huntsville Police Sergeant Mark Roberts.

Roberts says cell phones are easy to dispose of, making them a target for criminals looking for quick cash.

Unfortunately, they are now targeting the source. “It’s one of the things they’re doing more often, breaking into cell phone stores.”

Huntsville Police say the four suspects broke into the University Drive location and a Verizon store on Carl T. Jones Drive before 6 a.m. Wednesday, and say it may point to a larger theft ring.

“All of these [men] were not local,” said Roberts. “We’re looking at other similar events that have happened in other jurisdictions.”

None of the men are from Alabama. Police say it will take a while to sort through the many cell phones and other inventory related to the suspects, but they expect to link the men to other incidents.

“There were several vehicles involved in this, we’ve impounded many of those vehicles,” said Sgt. Roberts.

Among those vehicles was a trailer, and it wasn’t parked at a house.

“They were staying at a local motel and had a number of vehicles there.”

There were four other ‘smash-and-grab’ burglaries in Huntsville in the last month, and authorities say they are are investigating any possible connections.