The Washington Post

D.C. burglar steals cell, answers call, goes to jail

Here’s a piece of advice: Don’t answer a stolen cell phone unless you are really, really sure who is calling.

Crucito Serrano, 20, of Eastern Avenue in Northeast D.C., was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Monday for second-degree burglary after he stole a cell phone and other items, then answered the phone when the victim called it.

The homeowner, from the 2800 block of 5th Street Northeast, told police he called his phone the day after the break-in and heard someone in the background repeatedly saying “Cruz,” a nickname he knew Serrano used because the victim knew Serrano from the neighborhood, according to Bill Miller, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District.

When confronted by officers, Serrano admitted the crime and handed over the phone, police said.

The burglary occurred Sept. 25, 2010, at about 8:45 p.m, authorities said Monday. The victim, who was upstairs in his home where the front door was unlocked, heard an intruder but didn’t encounter him, police said. He later called the stolen phone after he realized it had been taken.

Serrano pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court in March.

Mary Pat Flaherty works on investigative and long-range stories. Her work has won numerous national awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.


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