Man caught stealing lost cell phones from movie theater in West County

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CHESTERFIELD, MO (KTVI)- A cleaning company employee is charged with stealing cell phones from moviegoers in Chesterfield. Police say these were cell phones accidentally left behind at the Galaxy 14 Cine, but instead of returning the phones, 25 year-old Donovan Carter allegedly sold them at a phone recycling kiosk.

There are eight of these kiosks, called EcoATM’s, at malls and businesses around the St. Louis area. The company says it’s a convenient and secure way for people to recycle their old cell phones, and get cash in return.

According to an EcoATM spokesperson, the machine will scan your driver’s license, take your picture, and even take your fingerprint, making it very difficult to sell a stolen phone and get away with it.

Chesterfield Police Lt. Mike Thompson says it was because of EcoATM that Carter was caught: “The serial number is what allowed EcoATM to match that phone to that owner.”

An EcoATM representative called the victim to return the phone, and ask that she file a police report. From there, three other victims were discovered. Thompson explains, “Once we identified the owner and got hold of them, they gave a similar story that they were at the Galaxy theater and lost their phone there.”

According to Wehrenberg Theatres Vice President Kelly Hoskins, the cleaning company, Jani-King, never informed the theater about what happened. Hoskins states, “We fully expect and demand that [the cleaning company] adhere to our strict lost and found standards and controls. Whenever an article is found at our theatres it is locked up immediately either in a safe, a strong box or in our manager’s office.”

FOX 2 has reached out to Jani-King to determine if Carter is still an employee, but have not yet heard back. Carter is charged with two counts of felony stealing and two counts of misdemeanor stealing.