MARYLAND

Accused cell phone thief's request for money leads to arrest

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An accused cell phone thief is facing extortion charges after failing to return a cell phone he found in a College Park restaurant.

Massachusetts resident Josh Fisher had never been to Maryland until last week. This past Saturday night, though, Fisher was with a friend, a University of Maryland student, at R.J. Bentley's in College Park when he left his Droid X phone.

He tried to contact whoever had the phone the next day.

"I texted with this desperate text, "Listen, I'm from Massachusetts. I really need my phone. I need to call my parents," Fisher explained.

The reply he got back was unexpected.

"Gimme 150 with you phone," Fisher recalled. "I just knew that I needed back my phone, so I just played the whole, 'Yeah of course, like I'll pay you sure. My phone's definitely worth that to me.' So I kind of led this guy on."

After agreeing to meet the suspect at the College Park 7-Eleven, Fisher got University of Maryland Police involved, specifically Pfc. Brian Meekins.

Meekins, who is 23, can pass for a student in civilian clothes.

"Usually, you have to track a phone and try to figure out where they're going, but this time the suspect pretty much led us right to him," Meekins said.

With Meekins pretending to be Fisher, he met suspect Aparicio Villacorta, and saw the phone. Officers hiding nearby swooped in for the arrest.

"I come around front, and the guys heads on the hood just staring at me," Fisher recalled.

Fisher said he can't praise Meekins enough for helping an out-of-town guy so quickly.

"He was one of the nicest guys I've met. He was so helpful, so into it. Just wanted to help me out," Fisher said.

Meekins added, "Being able to do this so quickly and it being successful at that, it's definitely a good feeling."

Villacorta is charged with misdemeanor theft and extortion.

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