WESTPORT, CT — A 29-year-old New Jersey man was arrested on a warrant charging him with first-degree identity theft after he stole a Westport man’s cell phone and used it to then steal more than $15,000 in cryptocurrency, according to police.
The case began in mid-April when the victim notified Westport police about a larceny.
“The victim reported that while traveling in California his cellular phone had been stolen in an airport,” wrote Westport police in a statement. “A few hours after the theft of his phone, he became aware that $15,472.31 had been transferred out of his Coinbase account; an application in which crypto-currency is managed. It was learned that funds from this account were converted into United States currency which was then moved into a PayPal account.”
An extensive investigation eventually led to police identifying Darren Carter, of Blackwood, NJ, as the suspect.
“Among various financial transaction records allegedly connecting Carter to the crime, he additionally sent an apology e-mail intended for the victim to the investigating detective. In this message he not only confessed to taking the victim’s phone while he was also traveling in California, but additionally admitted to transferring the victim’s Coinbase funds into a personal account. The stolen $15,472.31 was recovered from PayPal and returned to the victim.”
Westport police obtained a warrant for Carter’s arrest, and he was apprehended in New Jersey. Westport police detectives traveled to the Salem County Correctional Facility in Woodstown, NJ on Aug. 26 and took Carter into custody.
He was held in lieu of bail of $150,000 and is scheduled to appear in court at a later date.