By Jim Clark
Somerville Police received a call last week from a man who reportedly told them that his girlfriend’s stolen cell phone and passport were being held for ransom and that he was in the process of negotiating their return.
According to reports, the woman’s cell phone and passport had been stolen at a nightclub in Boston known as Sissy K’s on January 22, and the incident was reported to Boston Police.
At the time, the victim’s boyfriend immediately began communicating with the person in possession of the stolen phone via text messages, desperately trying to recover the victim’s passport.
During their conversation, he reportedly agreed to give the unidentified individual six hundred dollars to return the passport. According to the victim’s boyfriend, the response was, “I won’t give them back if you don’t have $600 or if you bring the police. She will have to stay in the U.S.”
The victim’s boyfriend reportedly said that he was told that a meeting would be arranged to exchange the cash for the stolen items.
After several days of texted negotiations, all parties agreed to meet at the McDonald’s at 14 McGrath Highway in Somerville. A photo of the passport was texted to the victim for affirmation. Somerville Police was notified prior to the meeting, as indicated earlier.
Police detectives were stationed at strategic locations around the McDonald’s and waited for the suspect to arrive. The victim’s boyfriend received instructions on his cell phone to exit the McDonald’s and meet the suspect outside.
The victim’s boyfriend met a female, later identified as Yolanda Barros, of Brockton, in front of the Gold’s Gym three stores down from the McDonald’s.
He gave her six one hundred bills and she reportedly handed him the stolen passport. Detectives observed Barros as she exited a nearby vehicle. After the exchange, the driver of the vehicle, later identified as Dante Gomes, of Roxbury, quickly exited its parking spot and attempted to leave the area.
Detectives stopped the vehicle and detained Barros. She reportedly said that she didn’t do anything wrong and that she was “returning a passport for her friend.”
Barros was handcuffed and police retrieved the six hundred dollars from her hands and confiscated it as evidence.
Police approached Gomes in the driver’s seat of the vehicle and, prior to being spoken to, he questioned officers as to why he was being stopped. He reportedly told police, “I’m just here to return a passport to someone.”
A third passenger was also seated in the rear passenger side of the car.
The officers noted that Gomes had two cell phones on the front passenger seat of the vehicle, one of which had a photo of a Brazilian passport displayed on the lit screen. The phone in question was an iPhone 5.
Gomes was promptly given an order to exit the vehicle and he was placed into custody.
The vehicle was towed away, and the backseat passenger, who claimed no involvement, was sent on his way.
Both defendants were transported to Somerville Police headquarters and charged with the conspiracy and receiving stolen property over $250.
They were later booked by the Officer in Command. According to the charges, they had possession of the stolen passport and cell phone and deliberately attempted to deprive the victim of money for items they knew were stolen.