Thief steals truck filled with $12M worth of smartphones - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Thief steals truck filled with $12M worth of smartphones

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A truck filled with over 22,000 smartphones was stolen at a truck stop in Gary, Indiana.

Police say the semi that was stolen had no markings suggesting it was loaded with cell phones. They're still trying to determine whether this surprising theft was pulled off by one man working alone, or by a sophisticated network of thieves.

Two weeks ago, a truck driver pulled into a Petro Truck Stop in Gary and walked across the street to get a bite to eat at Denny's. 30 minutes later, he says, he returned, to find his truck was gone.

Gary police officer Gabrielle King happened to be working at the truck stop that night and talked with the driver.

"The only way they could have known is if they were the ones that put it on the truck, or maybe the driver told somebody," Gabrielle King with the Gary Police Department explains. "That's all that's known to me, I have no idea."

The driver told police he was headed for Louisville. Four days later, the semi turned up in Louisville, when the truck slammed into a utility pole. It's cargo was still inside.

"Apparently, he had over $12 million of LG smartphones," Sgt. Rick Saint-Blancard explains. "So a lot of valuable cargo."

That's right. Police found 22,500 LG2 cell phones, worth about $12.4 million. Police believe they were headed for a distribution center in Louisville where they would be shipped to Sprint customers.

Police say Juan Perez Gonzalez was driving the stolen semi when it crashed. He's been charged with theft, receiving stolen property and leaving the scene of an accident.

Police in Gary have no clue why Gonzalez would have stolen the truck and then still headed for Louisville.

Drivers say they often worry about their semi's getting stolen from truck stops.

"Happens all the time, every day, all across America," one driver told FOX 32.

"It's not [wise to leave your truck unattended]," adds another. "In fact, they discourage that. Most companies do."

Gonzalez appeared in court in Louisville and was released on bond. The FBI helped in the early stages of this investigation, which is now being handled by Kentucky State Police.

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