Two men indicted for $1 million conspiracy to steal 1,400 cell phones in dozens of burglaries

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.— Two Kansas City men have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a $1 million conspiracy to steal more than 1,400 cell phones in dozens of commercial burglaries across five states.

Viktor Chernetskiy, 29, a naturalized citizen from Ukraine, and Bryan C. Kirkendoll II, 29, were charged in a five-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on Wednesday. The indictment replaces a criminal complaint that was filed on June 14. Chernetskiy remains in federal custody without bond; Kirkendoll was released on bond.

The federal indictment alleges that Chernetskiy and Kirkendoll participated in a conspiracy to steal electronic devices – primarily cell phones – from stores in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, and Oklahoma, then transport them across state lines in order to sell them.

According to the indictment, Chernetskiy and Kirkendoll committed 48 burglaries from Nov. 21, 2018, to June 14, 2019, in which they stole approximately 1,401 electronic devices (primarily cell phones) with a total financial loss of approximately $1,008,742. The indictment includes a list of burglaries and individual loss amounts for each store.

In each instance, the indictment says, the stores were burglarized after hours and the co-conspirators wore hooded sweatshirts, caps, and gloves to conceal their identity and limit the trace evidence left behind during the burglaries. They allegedly pried the doors open with a large screwdriver or crowbar; in many instances, they broke the glass windows out of the doors, and then went through the opening. Once inside, they allegedly looked for phones that were not secured within a safe or other secure location, and loaded those phones into a plastic bin, trash bag, or other bag. In some instances, the indictment says, they also cut retractable security cables from store demonstration phones and took those as well. There was at least one instance where it appeared that they tried (unsuccessfully) to pry open a safe.

In addition to the conspiracy, Chernetskiy and Kirkendoll are charged together in three counts of transporting stolen property across state lines and Chernetskiy is charged in a fourth count of transporting stolen property across state lines.

The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rudolph R. Rhodes IV. It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the FBI.

(Press Release from the Office of the United States Attorney Western District of Missouri)

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