Cell-phone business owner arrested for selling stolen phones

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The following is a press release from the Chandler Police Department:

CHANDLER -- On December 11, 2008 at approximately 0900 hours Raied "Rocky" Francis, 41 from Phoenix, was arrested on multiple charges of Possession of Stolen Property, Trafficking in Stolen Property, and Fraud related to access devices during a 3 month long investigation. Francis does hold duel citizenship in the United States and Iraq.

The investigation entitled, "Operation Can You Hear Me Now" began after Chandler Police investigators received information that Francis was arranging for some of his employees to go out and commit night-time burglaries on other cell phone businesses, and telling them to bring him the stolen phones for payment. Francis led a sophisticated operation that flashed the stolen phones over to other wire-less providers. This was done by using specialized computer software that masked the cell phone as being a stolen, thus making the stolen phone undetectable.

During the investigation, Francis continually purchased and sold cell phones he believed were stolen from burglaries. The stolen phones were sold from his businesses and via the internet using EBay and Craigslist. The Chandler Police Department served three search warrants this morning at Francis' residence located at 17654 N. 41st Street, Phx and his two businesses; located at 9822 N. 7th Street, Phx. (Wireless4Less) and 2535 E. Bell Rd., Phx. (Wireless4Less/ Check Cashing and More).

This is an on-going investigation, and Chandler detectives are looking into whether Francis has any ties to these stolen cell phones being used in other criminal activities locally, nationally, and internationally. This investigation could not have been done without the assistance from Verizon, Alltel, Sprint, and Nextel.

The Chandler Police Department is encouraging anyone with information about this case to call 480-782-4130.