AUSTIN, Texas - Johan Valbuena Mapica, 33, and Holman Valbuena Malpica, 35, have been arrested for stealing cellphones from festival-goers during weekend one of ACL.
According to police, the suspects would bump into the victims they were targeting and then get into arguments with them. The suspects also allegedly had a small screwdriver and were using it to remove sim cards from stolen cell phones.
Police were alerted about the thieves after they had stolen cellphones from service members attending the music festival on Saturday, October 2.
On Sunday, October 3, the service members attended the festival again and saw the same suspects. The suspects were recognized because they were wearing the same clothes from the day before, according to police.
One of the service members took photos of the suspects, according to police. The photos were shared with officers with the Austin Police Department (APD) who were working undercover at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
After officers were alerted about a phone theft near the T-Mobile Stage, uniformed officers made contact with Johan Valbuena Mapica. Mapica did not have a cell phone on him and was released a short time later.
Police noted in the affidavit though that it is not uncommon for thieves to stash the phones until a later time when they can all be carried out of the event.
Johan Valbuena Mapica was charged with unlawful use Of criminal instrument, a Class A misdemeanor.
A short time later, officers were alerted of a cell phone theft near the volleyball courts and the Miller Lite Stage. The suspects were spotted leaving the area by police officers and heading towards the Honda Stage.
The suspects separated when they entered the viewing area of the Honda Stage.
Uniformed officers made contact with Holman Valbuena Malpica and he was detained. Holman was allegedly squirming a lot during his arrest in an attempt to drop stolen cell phones he had on him. The cell phones had been concealed in a large elastic band he was wearing around his torso.
Holman Valbuena Malpica was charged with tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and theft from a person, a state jail felony.
Soon after, Johan walked out of the crowd and was taken into custody. While searching Johan, officers found a small screwdriver and a paperclip that was bent in a way like it was being used as a tool. Johan was using both of these to remove sim cards from the stolen cell phones, according to police.
Police officers were able to return the stolen cell phones to their rightful owners.
Johan Valbuena Mapica was charged with unlawful use Of criminal instrument, a Class A misdemeanor. Holman Valbuena Malpica was charged with tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and theft from a person, a state jail felony.