By Matt Wiley
An after-hours burglary has left the Cellmasters, Inc., T-Mobile store in New Tampa, as well as the T-Mobile store in Wesley Chapel, short thousands of dollars in stolen phones.
According to the Tampa Police Department (TPD), at around 6:45 a.m. on August 23, two caucasian or “fair-skinned” male suspects, clad in long sleeves, gloves and ski-masks, broke into Cellmasters, located at 19024 Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. in the New Tampa Center shopping plaza.
TPD reports that the suspects entered through the back door of the store, setting off the store’s alarm system. Once the alarm started to go off, the suspects walked over to a display case and began shoving phones and phone cases into a bag, before leaving through the same back door.
Surveillance footage shows the suspects clearing out the display cases and leaving the store, literally, in only about one minute. TPD describes the suspect’s loot as an “enormous amount of merchandise.”
Cellmasters, Inc., owner Ashraf Hamed says that the store is out about $10,000 in product, plus the cash register, in only its second month of business.
“They knew exactly where to go,” Hamed says. “It’s like they knew the store. They were in and out of here.”
In addition, the T-Mobile store located at 5438 BBD in Wesley Chapel also was burglarized. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) reports that on August 24, two unknown suspects entered the locked, rear door of the store by prying open the door with an unknown tool, which also was used to pry open the locked stockroom door. Once inside, PCSO says that the suspects took 67 new cell phones, valued at more than $25,000. The suspects exited the business through the same rear door. Their mode of transportation still is not known. The case is still under investigation and no additional information is available at this time.
Anyone with any information about the suspects’ identities or whereabouts is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS(8477) or text “CSTB plus your tip” to 274637 (CRIMES). Anonymous tips leading to an arrest may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 in cash.