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'Mardi Gras Bandits' 122 more phones stolen at parades recovered in Tangipahoa Parish

Seven more arrests have been made in connection with a string of cellphone thefts that have taken place during Mardi Gras.

NEW ORLEANS — The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office has recovered 122 more phones and made seven more arrests in connection with a string of pickpocketing thefts in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

TPSO Chief Travis said several of the individuals apprehended had Colombia identification and are a part of a “Colombia theft ring.” 

Through their investigation and contacts with federal authorities, the suspects are tied to a ring that’s been stealing in Florida, New York, and Chicago recently. 

TPSO identified the 7 arrested as:

  • 30-year-old Kely Yojana Forero-Mendoza 
  • 24-year-old Paula Daniela Canaria-Villamil 
  • 33-year-old Paola Fernanda Consuegra-Gavlis 
  • 30-year-old Jhon Alexander Flores-Munoz 
  •  26-year-old Yuli Oney Gutierrez 
  • 31-year-old Ronald Steven Carvajal 
  •  47-year-old Jorge Jimenez

The thieves used faraday bags that kill the phone’s battery and the signal.  

“I think this is organized crime,” said TPSO Chief Travis.   

No bond is set for the suspects at this time. They are currently being held in TPSO jail. 

Deputies have yet to release the numbers of the stolen phones.

New Orleans could press additional felony theft charges, Travis said. Then, federal authorities may also issue charges.

TPSO is asking people to use a link on the TPSO website to fill out their info if their phone was stolen. You should also report it on NOLA.gov.

These arrests and recoveries follow the arrests of four people from South Florida on Saturday after more than three dozen stolen phones were discovered at an Airbnb in Tickfaw.

On Saturday, deputies said they tracked down a pick-pocketed phone to the Airbnb and found 40 other stolen phones, along with some credit and debit cards and IDs.

Deputies arrested four people who they believe traveled from Miami to the New Orleans area to carry out a pick-pocketing scheme during Mardi Gras celebrations. The suspects were identified as Bridgette Solorzano Rodriguez, 32; Yudi Solorzano Sanchez, 36; Jean Paul Sabogal Angorita, 26; and Rafael Adrien Souza, 24. They've each been charged with possession of stolen property.

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