Four suspected thieves from Miami — nicknamed "the Mardi Gras Bandits" — flew to New Orleans in an effort to pickpocket 40 iPhones and other various items from parade attendees, according to authorities.
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs Office deputies arrested four people, including Bridgette Solorzano Rodriguee, 32; Yudi Solorzano Sanchez, 36; Jean Paul Sabogal Angorita, 26; and Rafael Adrien Souza, 24, in connection with the alleged crime.
"It is believed the subjects flew to New Orleans from Miami to attend Mardi Gras, where they devised the pick-pocket scheme," the sheriff's office wrote in a Facebook post.
One victim was able to trace his stolen iPhone to an AirBnb in Tickfaw, Louisiana — a small town about an hour northwest of New Orleans.
Deputies responded to the residence and, after interviewing the suspects, obtained a search warrant and located the 40 stolen iPhones in their possession, "along with various credit and debit cards, identification cards, and other items."
Authorities are asking anyone who was a victim of a pick-pocket over the weekend in the St. Charles Avenue area of New Orleans to file a report with the New Orleans Police Department.
The sheriff's office posted a list of redacted numbers to its Facebook page so that victims can come forward to collect their stolen phones.
"Those attending Mardi Gras and similar events such as fairs and festivals, are always encouraged to remain aware of their surroundings. A suggestion for preventing a pick-pocket is to always keep wallets and phones in a front pants pocket rather than a back pocket while in a large crowd," the sheriff's office said.
Authorities charges all four suspects with possession of stolen property. The suspects are being held at the Tangipahoa Parish Jail.