Early Wednesday afternoon, a woman walked into a coffee shop in the 2900 block of Magazine Street at the same time as a man who struck up a conversation with her, said Sgt. Marc Hedgemon of the NOPD Sixth District property-crimes division. She set her phone down on a counter while they talked, and after he left, she realized her phone was missing, Hedgemon said.
Her distress as she looked for her phone was noticed by two other customers in the coffeeshop who turned out to be federal agents, Hedgemon said. They used their own phones to “ping” hers, and notified NOPD when they found a location, Hedgemon said.
Police arrived at a residence in the 2900 block of Laurel Street just as 32-year-old Byron Millet was walking out, and they asked him if he had the phone, Hedgemon said. Millet denied it, but officers were dialing its number as they asked, and it began ringing while they were talking to him, Hedgemon said.
During the investigation, police found another phone that appeared to be suspicious, Hedgemon said. Upon further investigation they found that it had been stolen from a customer in Joey K’s so recently that the victim was still in the restaurant, unaware that it had been taken, Hedgemon said.
“He snatched up some phones today,” Hedgemon said Wednesday, discussing the case during the the weekly internal meeting of the Sixth District leadership.
Commander Bob Bardy suggested that the pattern of quick thefts should encourage Uptown shoppers to be vigilant about where they place their phones.
Millet remains in the Orleans Parish Prison on two counts of theft, two counts of possession of stolen property, and three warrants out of Jefferson Parish, jail records show.