FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Police officers recovered 24 phones they believe thieves stole from country music fans at The Tortuga Beach Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Officers arrested Wilson Garson, 23, Piter Japol, 27, and Yesica Castellanos, 28, on Saturday night, accusing them of pickpocketing phones at the festival.
Melody Sipe, of Pittsburgh, said her focus was on the musicians on stage when a tall man behind her removed her iPhone from her back pocket. She felt it and quickly turned around.
“Too easy to do, they just slipped it right out,” Sipe said Sunday.
Officers had returned 18 out of the 24 phones by Sunday morning.
Garson, Japol and Castellanos are facing grand theft charges.
“Security staff and police have a zero-tolerance policy for anyone victimizing festival attendees,” a Fort Lauderdale Police Department spokesperson wrote on Twitter Sunday.
The festival sold out. Nelly, Morgan Wallen, Luke Combs, Sublime with Rome, and Thomas Rhett were just a few of the performers on stage. Officers blocked off sections of the beach along Seabreeze Boulevard for the event that began on Friday and ran from noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information about the Tortuga Music Festival, visit this page.
April 8, 6 p.m. report.
Local 10 News Assignment Desk Editor Aura Martinez contributed to this report.