Police: Couple drives nearly 2 hours to track iPhone thief to Wilkes-Barre

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
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WILKES-BARRE — An iPhone allegedly stolen during a diaper change inside a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant nearly 90 miles away was recovered on New Hancock Street on Tuesday night.

Owners of the phone used an app to locate and follow the signal from the restaurant in Rockaway, New Jersey, to the residence in Wilkes-Barre where city police arrested the alleged thief, Rocio Carty-Romero.

Police allege Carty-Romero, 42, swiped the phone in the restaurant’s restroom.

Prices for the iPhone X range from $999 to $1,149 on Apple’s website.

According to the criminal complaint:

Patrick Hopple called 911 after following people who stole his wife’s iPhone X from the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Rockaway, New Jersey, to 279 New Hancock St. in Wilkes-Barre.

Hopple used a phone finder app to locate the stolen phone.

When Hopple acquired a signal, he learned the phone was exiting the restaurant and he and his wife and infant gave chase, following a vehicle across state lines to Wilkes-Barre, a journey of nearly two hours.

Hopple’s wife, Stephaney, told police she dropped her iPhone while she was changing her baby’s diaper.

The phone was found in Carty-Romero’s vehicle.

Carty-Romero reportedly told police, “I took the phone. If I didn’t take it, someone else would have.”

A passenger in Carty-Romero’s vehicle, Raymondo Moya, 42, was arrested on charges he provided officers with a false name.

Moya was identified by his Peru passport.

Carty-Romero, of Wilkes-Barre, was arraigned Wednesday by District Judge James Haggerty in Luzerne County Court on a single count of theft, and Moya was arraigned on a single count of false identification to law enforcement.

They were both released on $2,500 unsecured bail.

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By Ed Lewis

[email protected]