Tourist, Cops Hatch Undercover Sting to Get Stolen Cellphone Back From Man Demanding Ransom

Port Authority cops came up with a plan and got the woman to arrange for the meeting to happen at the bus terminal

A tourist who had her phone stolen became part of an undercover police sting operation to get it back from the man who swiped it and held it for ransom, police say. 

An 18-year-old Bronx man was been arrested for allegedly snatching the tourist's cellphone from a midtown hotel and then demanding $400 for it. 

Authorities say the victim, 32-year-old Stacey Ramsey from Houston, Texas, approached Port Authority officers in the midtown bus terminal Monday afternoon and said her phone had been taken from the Doubletree Hotel. 

"I just thought it was the right thing to do," Ramsey said. "Maybe the police can help me. I can't do it on my own."

She said she used another phone to call her cell and a man, allegedly Calvin Yearwood, answered and demanded $400 for its return. The woman said the man told her to meet him at a bank on Amsterdam Avenue. 

"A gentleman on the phone said 'are you missing a phone?'" Ramsey said. "I said 'yes sir I am.' He said 'I do have it.'"

Port Authority cops hatched a plan and got the woman to arrange for the meeting to happen at the bus terminal instead.

"It was nerve-wracking," Ramsey said. "My heart was racing." 

A plainclothes officer went with the tourist to the meeting location and once the suspect approached them and demanded payment, he was arrested, officials said. 

The iPhone 7 was recovered from the suspect, officials said. Yearwood faces charges of grand larceny, extortion and criminal possession of stolen property. 

It wasn't clear if he had retained an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Contact Us