106 phones stolen from EDC recovered in South Florida

Organized roving phone thieves likely behind hundreds of thefts at EDC

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputies confirmed Tuesday afternoon they had intercepted 106 cell phones stolen over the weekend from Orlando's Electric Daisy Carnival.
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputies confirmed Tuesday afternoon they had intercepted 106 cell phones stolen over the weekend from Orlando's Electric Daisy Carnival.

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies with Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said they intercepted 106 cell phones stolen over the weekend from Orlando’s Electric Daisy Carnival.

A detective said patrol deputies witnessed a car driven by Adeson Ortega, of Hialeah, roll through a stop sign near Lake Okeechobee.

Deputies said they noticed bags of phones and credit cards when they pulled Ortega over.

Ortega was arrested for possession of stolen credit cards.

The Orlando Police Department will handle the stolen phone cases, the detective said, and encouraged anyone whose phone was stolen at EDC to file a police report with the Orlando Police Department at this link here.

Police said any victim who fills out a report should include the following:

  • Contact information
  • Phone number
  • Serial number
  • Color of the phone
  • Make of the phone

Investigators said the phones recovered will be returned as quickly as officers can match up victims to their phones.

A detective said he was able to insert some of the SIM cards that had been removed and contact the owners.

Other phones were locked or otherwise unidentifiable.

He encouraged cellphone theft victims to include a detailed description of their missing phone in the police report along with their passcode so detectives can access the phones and contact victims.

Sunday night, Orlando Police said they arrested Carlos Perez-Hernandez for stealing 34 phones. Police said they found the phones in his backpack.

Man accused of stealing 30+ phones at Electric Daisy Carnival

All the phones were in airplane mode after witnesses spotted him pickpocketing the phones.

Orlando Police Lt. Wanda Miglio said police had a large presence at the music festival in uniform and in plain clothes trying to protect guests.

“This has happened in the past, not just here but all over the nation with people taking cellphones,” Miglio said. “It’s very easy to bump into someone and you not realize your cellphone is taken. So we ask people to take extra steps to protect their property.”

Investigators said organized roving bands of thieves travel the country targeting unsuspecting guests at large events like music festivals, concerts and shows.

Last year, Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputies intercepted a buzzing box of hundreds of stolen cellphones at a UPS store in Kissimmee.

Deputies said the phones were about to be shipped out of the country.

The suspects admitted to traveling the country to steal phones at large events, according to deputies.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office added extra security to the Country Thunder music festival at Osceola Heritage Park earlier this year to deter cellphone stealing gangs.

Last year, Orlando Police said they arrested three men who stole dozens of phones from downtown bars in a matter of minutes

Investigators said the best way to protect your phone is to stop wearing it in your back pocket and move it to your front pocket.

If you’re going to carry your phone in a bag or purse, investigators recommend two layers of security, such as a zipped pocket inside a zipped handbag.

About the Author:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.