Four accused of stealing cell phones at music festival

OKEECHOBEE — Four men were arrested Sunday after apparently being found in the possession of stolen cell phones at the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival.

Barbaro Rivera-Tartabul, 32, Northwest Eighth Street, Miami, was arrested March 5 on felony charges of robbery by sudden snatching and grand theft (more than $300 less than $5,000).

Barbaro Rivera-Tartabul, 32

Malquiel Hernandez-Hernandez, 28, Southwest 84th Avenue, Miami, was arrested March 5 on a felony charge of grand theft (more than $300 less than $5,000) and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence. He was later arrested by Deputy Sergeant Aric Majere on a Sarasota County felony warrant charging him with burglary of a conveyance.

Yosbel Prieto-Hernandez, 37, Northwest Fifth Street, Miami, and Estivenson Blanco-Rubiano, 33, Lake Fenwick Road, Kent, Wash., were arrested March 5 on a felony charge of grand theft (more than $300 less than $5,000).

Yosbel Prieto-Hernandez, 37

Prieto-Hernandez and Blanco-Rubiano’s bonds were set at $7,500 each. Hernandez-Hernandez had his bond set at $13,000 and Rivera-Tartabul had his bond set at $15,000. All four have since been released on bond.

According to an arrest report by Deputy Mark Margerum, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), at approximately 1:30 a.m. on March 4, he was working a special detail performing security for the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival in the 12500 block of Northeast 91st Avenue when he was dispatched to the lost and found area to speak with someone who apparently had their cell phone stolen.

Malquiel Hernandez-Hernandez, 28

Deputy Margerum met with three individuals who informed him that their cell phones had been stolen from their pockets while they watched concerts in the area known as The Grove, stated the report. While the deputy spoke with the complainants several more people arrived and informed their cell phones had been stolen from their pockets as well.

While the deputies were with the group of complainants, dispatch relayed to Deputy Margerum that three individuals were chasing suspected cell phone thieves. Within a few minutes, members of the Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force along with Deputies William Jolly and Matthew Huffman, were approached by one of the people, who gave chase to the suspects. The individual informed them they saw the suspects steal the phones and that they also attempted to steal from them as well. After law enforcement caught up to the suspects, later identified as Prieto-Hernandez, Blanco-Rubiano, Hernandez-Hernandez and Rivera-Tartabul, they saw them drop seven cell phones and a red AAA Dollars Mastercard in the name of William R. Thalheimer. The individuals who originally chased the suspects, identified them as the ones who attempted to steal their bags and cell phones and saw them drop the phones and red card as well.

Estivenson Blanco-Rubiano, 33

All four suspects were detained and transported to the OCSO Command Center on site along with the cell phones and Mastercard. The complainants were informed to meet law enforcement at the command center and to fill out complaint affidavits and possibly identify the phones that were recovered. The report stated that approximately 20 people responded to the command center.

One man identified a phone that had been taken from him when Rivera-Tartabul supposedly bumped into him. A woman then identified Rivera-Tartabul as the suspect who unzipped her fanny pack, took her iPhone and then walked away. A third individual was reported as having identified the suspects as stealing a phone as well, however, it was not one of the phones recovered.

The suspects were all arrested, transported and booked into the Okeechobee County Jail.

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