Is 53-year-old Stephan Mitchell a crook or a good Samaritan, albeit one who wanted to get paid?
The folks at the Boulder Police Department have expressed their opinion clearly, busting Mitchell for theft in relation to a missing cell phone he says he found.
According to the Boulder Daily Camera, the paper of record in a town that's an apparently endless font of quirky crime stories, a woman told police she'd lost her phone on 12th Street last Wednesday. But rather than wait for the gadget to magically materialize, she bought a new one two days later.
Then, on Saturday, the woman's mom received a call from a man who said he'd found the lost phone. It had needed drying out, he told her, but it was working now, and he'd even picked up a new charger for it. With that in mind, he reportedly said he'd be happy to return it for the oh-so-reasonable sum of $100.
The mom in question didn't think this sounded like such a great deal, the police report maintains, especially after the man on the other end of the line grew testy when she balked at his non-negotiable price. Hence the involvement of the police, which ran the equivalent of a sting operation:
An officer called the phone masquerading as its owner. This time, police say the man on the other end of the speaker, identified by the BPD as Mitchell, bumped up his demand, asking for $200 to return the phone. That figure does appear to have been negotiable, because he subsequently agreed to take $150 for it. However, Mitchell allegedly told the cop he planned to bring a gun with him and "wasn't going to back down from a fight if that's what it came down to."
It didn't: Instead, Mitchell was quietly arrested at the arranged rendezvous spot, a Boulder gas station. He's been booked as a theft suspect.
That's what a guy gets for trying to do a sorta/kinda/possibly good deed. Here's a larger version of Mitchell's booking photo.
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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Kathryn Lucas's stolen bike wound up on Craigslist -- so she stole it back."