Store Owner: Suspect steals iPhone for an Instagram joke

Photos: Jeff Sandridge

A store owner says a man stole an iPhone 8 through a fraudulent PayPal purchase in an effort to be famous.

Posted: Jan 22, 2018 7:05 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2018 7:13 PM

A Madison store owner says a man stole an iPhone 8 from his store in an effort to get famous while posting it on Instagram.

Smartphone Medics store owner Jeff Sandridge says a man was attempting to purchase a phone he was advertising on Facebook Marketplace. The man told Sandridge he wanted to pay for the phone using popular online payment system PayPal.

Photos: Jeff Sandridge

Photos: Jeff Sandridge

The next morning, Sandridge says the man arrived at his store looking to complete the transaction for the smartphone. Sandridge was not at work at the time, but he was awaiting confirmations through PayPal. He received notifications from what appeared to be PayPal, but there were some discepancies. He said the email said "Pay Pal" instead of the proper one-word company name. He also discovered the email was sent using a gmail account.

When Sandridge realized this person was likely trying to scam him, he alerted employees to not hand over the phone, but it was too late. His employees notified him that the person took the phone, and he ran out of the store. Sandridge never saw a dime because of the fraudulent transaction. Employees were able to get a picture of his car along with video and social media photos. One Instagram post showed him saying "If I go to jail just know I took that [expletive]!"

Sandridge would attempt to make contact with the man again, and when the owner threatened to press charges, the man apologized and said he was doing it as a joke for Instagram, and he was trying to get famous. When law enforcement arrived Sandrige notified the man that they were at the store, and as a result he never showed up, even though he said he would not press charges.

Authorities have yet to announce any arrests as a result of this case.

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