Judge refuses to lock them up: 8th District detectives thought they were making some progress in tracking down and arresting thieves who were responsible for the burgeoning iPhone thefts in the French Quarter when they arrested 2 culprits last May for 3 thefts.
But their victory was short-lived. After charges against Dwight Murray Jr. (left),18, and Horace Toppins (right), 19, were reduced by District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro from 2 counts each of "simple robbery" to 2 counts each of "theft between $500 and $1500," the 2 defendants pled guilty 9.21.11.
Criminal District Court Judge Darryl Derbigny sentenced each of them to 2 years in prison--then suspended the sentences, apparently not considering cellphone thefts a serious business. Murray and Toppins had been free on $20,000 bond each since their arrest 5.26.11 (where do young thieves get that kind of money?)
Cops saw a vehicle with a license plate that was mentioned in a French Quarter robbery and pulled over the driver. Detectives found a stolen iPhone in the car and linked Murray and Toppins to 3 cellphone robberies on 5.22.11. Det. Tindell Murdock developed Murray and Toppins as suspects after learning they were selling the stolen phones on the street.
Murray was charged with the simple robbery at 1:15 a.m. in the 700 block of Burgundy Street. Toppins was charged with simple robbery for one at 4:30 a.m. in the 500 block of Burgundy. Both were charged with simple robbery for another one at 7:30 p.m. at Burgundy and St. Peter streets.
If Judge Derbigny's leniency was due to a misguided belief that "there's no such thing as a bad boy" maybe this will help him get over it: Toppins was arrested a month after Derbigny set him free and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute on 10.25.11. He's sitting in OPP on that--and for violating the parole he got in the iPhone caper.
More iPhone thefts than ever: The theft of iPhones is a perpetual problem since it's so easy to swap out SIMM cards and appropriate a stolen phone. Here are the iPhone thefts that've gone down in just the last couple of weeks:
- Wednesday (10.26.11) 7:25 a.m.: A 17-year-old black school girl waiting for the bus at Canal Street and Elk Place was attacked by a gang of black chicks who took her iPhone and purse. Detectives are working several leads in the case.
- Friday (10.28.11) 12:45 a.m.: A 33-year-old white guy standing near Bourbon and Orleans streets had his iPhone snatched from his hand by a black boy, 17 to 18 years old, 5'9" tall, with a thin build, wearing a black shirt and black pants.
- Saturday (10.29.11) 11:40 p.m.: A 62-year-old white lady standing near Bourbon and Bienville streets had her iPhone grabbed from her hand by a black boy, 15 years old, with short hair, wearing a gray hoodie.
- Sunday (10.30.11) 11:30 p.m.: A 26-year-old white woman standing near Bourbon and St. Peter streets had her iPhone grabbed from her hand by a black dude, 5'10" tall, with a slim build, wearing a white hoodie.
- Thursday (11.3.11) 7:21 p.m.: A 29-year-old white woman standing in the 100 block of Bourbon Street, just off Canal Street, had her iPhone snatched by a black boy, 17 to 23 years old, 5'11" tall, with a medium build, wearing a red hoodie and khaki shorts.
- Saturday (11.5.11) 3:45 p.m.: A 29-year-old white woman walking in the 400 block of N. Peters Street was accosted by 3 black guys who grabbed her iPhone and fled on foot. Two were described as 5' tall, one wearing a red cap, the other wearing a gray hoodie; no description was given of the 3 perp.
- Sunday (11.6.11) 6:43 p.m.: A 26-year-old white woman walking near Carondelet and Common streets encountered 2 black thugs, one of whom grabbed her iPhone from her hand before both fled on foot. He was described as 5'6" tall, with a slim build, brown skid, wearing a green shirt, dark baggie jeans, with short hair; the other was 5'6" tall, with slim build, brown skin, wearing a black shirt and dark jeans.
- Wednesday (11.9.11) 2:15 a.m.: A 33-year-old white man walking near Iberville and Royal streets was accosted by 2 black punks who shoved an unknown object against his back, implying it was a gun, and made off with his iPhone. He was unable to describe either robber.
- Wednesday (11.9.11) 4:45 p.m.: A 50-year-old white lady walking near Canal and Magazine streets was struck by a black thug who tried to take her iPhone and purse. She screamed and he fled on foot. He is described as 20 to 25 years old, 5'9" to 5'11" tall, with medium-length dreadlocks.
- Friday (11.11.11) 6:05 p.m.: A 54-year-old white man standing near Royal and St. Louis streets had his iPhone grabbed from his hand by a black thief who fled on foot on St. Louis toward Bourbon Street. He was wearing a white sweatshirt and tan pants.
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