St. Paul man sentenced to 1 year of work release for role in cell phone theft ring

Court records show a St. Paul man learned his future in Hennepin County court on Thursday after being convicted in connection with a cellphone theft ring.

Antonio Tramaine Green, 19, was sentenced to one year of work release at Hennepin County Workhouse. He has credit of 25 days already served.

Green will also be on probation for three years.

Green was facing one count of racketeering, which he pled guilty to on March 2, according to court documents. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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Court documents said Green is part of a group of a dozen people who were charged in connection with the cellphone theft ring in September of 2022.

According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the ring victimized over 40 people from June 2021 to May 2022, primarily operating in the downtown area of Minneapolis.

A criminal complaint stated that the suspects moved money from the victims’ phones to people associated with the theft ring. The document also states the stolen phones were sold locally and outside of the United States.

Law enforcement said the suspects would target people at bar close, sometimes taking phones by force. However, authorities say the suspects would make sure the victim unlocked a phone before taking it so money could be moved from the accounts using services such as Venmo, Zelle and Coinbase.

Eventually, the suspects allegedly funneled phones to a man identified as Zhongshuang Su, nicknamed “the iPhone Man,” who would then sell the phones, according to the complaint.

Authorities state more than four dozen phones were sent to Hong Kong and more than two dozen other phones were sent to Su’s employer.

Overall, the thefts are said to have cost a total of more than $300,000.