SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 2, 2013

Man charged with trying to sell phone back to owner

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — A pizza shop employee whose iPhone was stolen from his car Sunday found himself on the receiving end of a not-so-special offer when he dialed his own number.

Police say Jose Mina, 45, offered to sell the phone back to the man for $50.

Now, Mina, of 71 Palmer St., Salem, is facing a charge of receiving stolen property, after showing up to meet the victim at Riley Plaza — and finding police waiting for him.

Salem police prosecutor Lt. Conrad Prosniewski said in court that the owner had left the phone in his car for about half an hour while he was inside Domino’s Pizza on Canal Street, where he works.

After he discovered that the phone was missing, he called the number. A man with an accent answered. He told the owner he could get his phone back for $50.

The man agreed to meet him. But then he went to police, who stationed officers nearby.

Confronted by the officers after he showed up, Mina denied stealing the phone, saying that someone else gives him phones to sell. He gets to keep $20 or $30 from each transaction.

Mina denied having the iPhone 4, valued by its owner at more than $200, on him, and instead offered to sell the man a Samsung phone instead, Prosniewski told the judge.

An attorney for Mina said his client denies the allegations.

Judge Matthew Machera released Mina on personal recognizance, with a warning to stay away from the victim.

He’s due back in court on Aug. 14.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.