A series of text messages and undercover police work led to the arrest of a Riverdale man who allegedly tried to sell a cell phone he found back to the original owner in College Park Sunday.
University of Maryland police said around 6:50 p.m., a 19-year-old man dropped his phone, a Motorola Droid X, outside of Charles Hall on the University of Maryland, College Park campus. He then used a friend’s phone to text his own phone to see if anyone had recovered it and would return it to him, according to university police.
Riverdale resident William Aparicio-Villacorta, 30, later allegedly found the phone and replied to the victim’s text, saying he would sell it back to him for $150, university police said.
The victim notified University of Maryland police, and an officer in plain clothes arranged to meet the suspect at a nearby College Park business to make the apparent exchange. Once the suspect showed the phone to the undercover officer posing as the victim, the officer revealed his identity and arrested him.
Aparicio-Villacorta is now charged with theft of less than $1,000 value and extortion for less than $500 value.
“I am very pleased with the quick thinking of our officer to conduct the transaction in an effort to successfully apprehend the thief,” said university police Chief David Mitchell in a Monday statement.
Aparicio-Villacorta is scheduled for a hearing in Prince George’s County District Court in Hyattsville June 25, according to online county district court records.
Attorney information for Aparicio-Villacorta was not listed with the courts Tuesday.
A phone number for Aparicio-Villacorta’s residence could not be located.