Cellphone thief definitely not "saved by the bell"

A man allegedly stole mobile phones from his roommates when they were sound asleep, but a 'wake-up alarm' on one of the phones gave him away.
Ti Gong

The stolen phones.

A man who allegedly stole four mobile phones from his roommates while they were sleeping was caught red-handed when an alarm on one of the stolen phones went off in the early morning, police said on Thursday.

The thefts happened late last month in an apartment of a residential complex in Chedun Town of suburban Songjiang District.

Police arrived at the scene at about 5am the morning after the phones went missing from the apartment.

About seven people were sleeping in the rented apartment that night, and the suspect, surnamed Li, who was alone in one of the bedrooms, was suspicious to police from the beginning.

“He kept arguing that a burglary must have happened and said his phone was immune probably because he had locked his door before going to bed,” said Zhu Bin, a Songjiang criminal police officer who was on the scene. “But we found no traces of burglary at that time.”

Most of the stolen phones had been powered off and one happened to be in vibration mode, but Zhu and his colleagues were hopeful for a breakthrough when one of the owners of the stolen phones said he had set an alarm for 6am on his phone.

“It was half an hour away and we decided to stay and wait for the alarm to ring,” Zhu said. “The suspicious tenant asked to leave and buy water and cigarettes, but we didn’t let him go.”

The sound of an alarm rang at 6am sharp, leading to all of the stolen phones being found in Li’s bag.

Li, who then owned up to the thefts, is now under detention, police said.

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