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Man pleads guilty in case associated with Minneapolis cell phone theft ring

Kevron Detrell Williams Gray pleaded guilty to assaulting the son of a former metro police chief and to aggravated robbery in a separate incident minutes earlier.

MINNEAPOLIS — Kevron Detrell Williams Gray, accused of assaulting the son of a former metro police chief last fall, pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree assault.

Williams Gray also pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery in a separate case that occurred about 15 minutes earlier than the assault, court documents say. According to court documents, prosecutors agreed to downward durational departure, so he will serve 117 months in prison total.

The assault and theft occurred July 24, 2022 in downtown Minneapolis. One of the incidents was captured on surveillance video. The video showed a companion of Williams Gray pushing a man and then punching him, with the victim falling to the sidewalk unconscious.

Retired Maplewood Police Chief Scott Nadeau later identified the victim as his son, Jack.

Jack Nadeau told detectives the person who stole his phone racked up 20 fraudulent transactions worth more than $1,700. One was for a pair of Nike shoes that was shipped to the defendant's address with the name "Kevin Williams." 

Investigators say they then determined Williams Gray was involved in similar activities in the same area on the same night Jack Nadeau was assaulted. When the defendant was arrested he had four cell phones on him, one belonging to a man police say was also robbed and assaulted. 

Prosecutors say the cases mentioned in the criminal complaint are "part of a larger pattern of criminal activity involving assault, robbery, theft, financial transaction card fraud, and identity theft occurring regularly in downtown Minneapolis." 

Twelve more people were charged in that ongoing investigation, after prosecutors say they violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a federal law designed to combat organized crime in the U.S.

For over a year, the group was running a criminal enterprise and ripped off more than 40 people, prosecutors believe.

Investigators say this group would "systematically" steal the phones, "fraudulently transfer funds from the victims' phones to individuals associated with the theft ring, and then sell the stolen cell phones locally and internationally."

Those involved in the robbery ring would give the stolen phones to Zhongshuang Su, nicknamed "the iPhone Man." Prosecutors say he would sell the phones locally and overseas.

None of the other suspects has pleaded guilty.

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