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Cell phone scam that ended in Woodbury draws conviction, sentence

A Twin Cities man who admitted to running a cell-phone scam that came to an end in Woodbury must repay thousands of dollars as part of a sentence he received earlier this month.

Tucker McDowell, 22, was ordered to repay $4,020 to his former employer, AT&T, during a Dec. 1 hearing where he was convicted and sentenced. The Bloomington man must also spend five years on probation, 10th District Court Judge Gregory Galler ordered.

If McDowell fails to abide terms of probation, the judge could impose a 13-month prison sentence. McDowell received credit for time already served in jail - 257 days.

He pleaded guilty in April 2010 to felony theft.

According to a criminal complaint:

McDowell had called the Woodbury AT&T store Oct. 27 posing as someone named "Brandon" from the company's Mall of America location. He pretended to be a worker there requesting a transfer of cell phones between stores.

AT&T store employees had become suspicious of McDowell after numerous stores around metro reported cell phones missing as a result of being contacted by "Brandon" for transfers.

Woodbury police were present when McDowell showed up and arrested him on suspicion of theft in the store's parking lot. After first denying he stole the phones, McDowell later admitted he had been fired from AT&T for not showing up to work and - with his knowledge of the company's retail transfer system - began running the scam. He said he began the scam after experiencing money problems, so he would sell the stolen phones on for $100 apiece.

Police said McDowell had taken a total of 18 phones between locations across the Twin Cities.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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