SPOKANE -- Police have arrested a couple suspected of taking cell phones in Spokane. They ask to borrow a phone then take off with it.
Police were responding to such a report Monday when a school district security officer heard the incident and linked it with similar thefts near schools. He provided a license plate that led police to Vladimir Stepanov, 20 and his wife Yuliya, 22.
Police arrested the Stepanov's on the charge of trafficking stolen property, but Spokane Public School Resource Officer Walt Pegram says the couple faces addition charges. “They’ve hit all areas of Spokane. Like I said on the South Hill, LC, Ferris. They've been at Rogers High school, North Central.”
Pegram says the last three weeks between 12 and 15 high schools students have reported their cell phone stolen in a similar trick.
He says most of the time the students were targeted a block or two from school. “They were trusting and wanted to do the right thing, helping people in need and these people just took advantage of them.”
Pegram says school security resources officers developed suspect information and got a license plate of the vehicle. They relayed that information to Spokane Police, who found the vehicle and the couple.
Court documents say they admitted to Monday’s theft and the person who bought the I-phone off them told authorities the Stepanovs sold them two other recently.