AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man was arrested over the weekend in connection with cell phone pickpocketing at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, according to court records.
Victor Manuel Castro Ordornez, 23, was arrested and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and theft by appropriation, Travis County court records state.
Castro-Ordonez was booked in the Travis County Correctional Complex on Saturday on a $22,000 bond. He did not have an attorney listed.
An arrest affidavit said officers responded to a call around 9:30 p.m. Friday for police assistance to help find cell phone theft suspects. Austin police officers working at ACL received multiple reports of stolen phones at multiple locations.
An officer was flagged by a festival employee who was asked to contact law enforcement after a victim said they received their stolen phone from a group. The victim learned where their phone was after calling the phone and hearing it ring inside a bag, the affidavit said, and the phone was released back to the theft victim.
The festival employee told an Austin police officer where the group was located. The affidavit said when the officer approached the group, two of the three suspects ran away. The officer detained one man from the group who was identified as Castro-Ordonez.
The officer searched the suspect and found a bag wrapped around his body with 35 phones. The affidavit said officers contacted 30 of the stolen phone’s owners who said they did not give permission or anyone to take their phone.
The value of the phones was estimated between $17,500 and $45,500, the affidavit said.
Pickpocket history at ACL
Hundreds of phones are pickpocketed at ACL every year, the affidavit said.
The officer involved in the arrest also investigated a pickpocket ring at ACL in 2021 where over 250 phones were stolen. The affidavit said pickpocket suspects work in groups of three to four people because multiple people are needed to facilitate a pickpocket operation.
During ACL Weekend One, APD received 11 theft reports. These included five reports of people stealing from individuals and six reports of theft or burglary from vehicles.