2 thieves ‘smash and grab’ more than 70 expensive cellphones from Westport business

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The owners of a cellphone store in Westport reached out to the public to identify two men who stole dozens of phones from inside their shop earlier this month. On Wednesday, the store owners said "both suspects turned themselves in."

Tyler Herndon and Christina McIntosh have been operating SETCELL on Westport Road going on four years.

“We don’t get a day off,” McIntosh said. “This is what we do to pay our bills.”

On Feb. 15, two men broke into their shop using a large rock and stole dozens of cell phones.

“As soon as we got here, we saw that our front door was busted out and the glass from the display case was gone,” Herndon said.

Surveillance footage from inside the store shows the men breaking the display case glass and grabbing several phones. Watch the footage in the video player above.

Herndon said the burglars got away with more than 70 expensive iPhones and Androids, and he doesn’t believe this was a random smash and grab.

The owners, who strategically chose the Westport location because of the visibility and 24-hour security, believe the two suspects scoped out their business, knew what case to target and figured out a 15-minute gap as to when they could get away with the crime.

“They’ve been in before. We do know they’ve been in,” said Herndon. “They went for our most expensive phones. We don’t know how thought-out this was but, ironically enough, they chose a 15-minute window to do this.”

The owners filed a police report and said the stolen phones have serial numbers and are capable of being tracked.

“As long as it’s in the police database and the carriers get the information then yes, the phone will eventually be blacklisted or blocked,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh warned against buying phones off of Craigslist and other exchange sites because it’s hard to tell if a phone is stolen until it’s too late. She stressed the importance of knowing who you are buying from.

“If the phone is too cheap, then they probably stole it,” McIntosh said. “So, that cheap phone deal is going to turn into an expensive deal because now you have to replace your phone.”

Aside from the physical damage, the owners said this burglary is hurting their revenue. This time of year tends to be the busiest for them because it's tax season and people use their refunds to buy new phones.

“We start stocking up six months in advance our inventory, so we can supply the additional demand we’re going to have during February and March,” Herndon said. “It’s more damaging to have to tell someone that we don’t have inventory because it was stolen.”

If you have any information about the incident, contact the TIPS hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.