Undercover cops bust man with $17,000 in stolen cellphones

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County deputies pulled an undercover sting in a quiet neighborhood in Raleigh.

Neighbors say they saw several cars in the area and thought they were looking at homes for sale, but when the police showed up, they knew something was wrong.

Fred Copeland said, “We didn’t know what was going on. We figured it must be a drug bust. Or something?”

Copeland watched the whole thing right from his front yard on Cavern Drive.

Authorities say Cornelius Williams used the address to order a shipment of $17,000 worth of LG cell phones.

But what Williams didn’t know was it was an undercover officer driving the delivery truck on Thursday.

Copeland said, “I saw several police cars, unmarked cars. One of them was a truck, chasing a black car.”

Williams was in the black car. Detectives say he used the name Jason Northington to sign for the phones. Williams was posing as an employee for a contracting firm in Georgia, and billed the company for these phones, but set up the delivery for Memphis.

“Evidently he wasn’t interested in buying a home. I don’t know why he would turn down here?”

Copeland says it was an active afternoon for this quiet suburban street.

“We don’t see any action like this,” Copeland said.

Reporter: “Are you glad it wasn’t drugs?”

Copeland: “I am, but it’s bad enough with cellphones. Drugs are probably involved.”

Williams told detectives he was paid by someone to come down from Chicago to pick up the stolen cellphones.

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