Ring of thieves targeting phone stores cracked?

Oakwood Police may have broken up a theft ring targeting AT&T phone stores in north Georgia.

The 10-day investigation culminated Monday with the arrest of one of two suspects in a theft that occurred March 15 in Oakwood, according to Chief Tim Hatch.

“On (Monday at about 11:00 a.m.), the Oakwood Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division along with the assistance from the Jefferson Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division, executed a search warrant at the suspects residential address in Gwinnett County regarding our investigation,” Chief Hatch said Tuesday morning. “We located our suspect, Marius Vasile, in the residence at which time he was placed under arrest and booked into the Hall County Jail on Oakwood PD’s arrest warrants. We did not locate our female suspect (see earlier post below) inside the residence. She is currently at-large.”

Hatch added that several other people were in the residence and have been identified as possibly being connected to “related AT&T thefts as part of this organized group.”

The raid also turned up “various keys inside the residence that are specifically used to unlock cellphones from display tables at cellphone stores,” he added.

AT&T Corporate has confirmed the pair are suspected in a number of thefts or attempted thefts from AT&T stores in north Georgia and possibly Tennessee.

Vasile is being held on $14,350 bond.


“On 3/15/2024 at approximately 1330 hours, Oakwood Police Department Officers responded to a 911 call about a male and female attempting to steal cellphones at the AT&T store located at 3715 Mundy Mill Rd, Ste P, Oakwood, GA 30566. Upon arrival, Officers found out that the male and female had already fled the scene in a silver minivan.

AT&T employees told officers that they had recognized the male and female suspects from an internal AT&T Corporate BOLO identifying these suspects as committing actual thefts of cellphones at other stores in the State of Georgia. The suspects use special keys to unlock the cellphones from the display tables.

Sgt Webb sent a BOLO of these suspects out to the surrounding agencies and found out that the same male suspect was wanted in connection to a theft of cellphones at an AT&T store in the City of Duluth.

During the follow-up investigation, Officer Henderson completed a thorough canvass of the shopping center for additional security camera footage and was able to identify the description of the vehicle that the suspects used in the attempted theft of cellphones at the Oakwood AT&T store. Officer Henderson accessed the FLOCK camera system and identified the license plate for this vehicle.

Sgt Webb was able to use that information and identify the female as being a Romanian immigrant named Maria Antonescu.

Sgt Webb contacted the Duluth Police Department and passed this information on to Detective S. Davis, who was able to use it to identify our male suspect as being Marius Vasile. The Vasile subject has been booked into the Hall County Jail on the following charges: Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony Theft by Shoplifting, Conspiracy to Commit a felony, Possession of Tools for the Commission of a Crime.

With these two suspects’ being identified, the AT&T corporation has confirmed that these suspects are linked to additional cellphone thefts in the cities of Sandy Springs, Jefferson, Bonaire, Locust Grove, Perry, Atlanta, And Athens.

We also have a lead on an additional related case in Crossville Tennessee.

We are currently working with the AT&T corporation and the related Law Enforcement agencies to provide them with our information to assist them in their investigations. agencies

These two suspects are part of a larger Romanian Organized Crime group that moves around the country committing various types of thefts and fraud.”