FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Bob Evans mascot took four iPhones from the locker room of a girls dance team in the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Sunday, according to a police report. Authorities say the father of one of the teenage victims tracked down the suspect using the stolen cell phone’s GPS.
Thomas Strait says his daughter’s Northeast School of Dance team performed at the Mad Ants basketball game Sunday. Straight told officers the girls changed and left their personal belongings in a Coliseum locker room during their halftime performance. When they got back to the locker room, Strait said several girls had cell phones missing.
Around 9:45 Sunday night, Strait said his iPad tracker picked up the GPS signal of his daughter’s stolen phone. The tracker placed the phone at a home in the 1900 block of Webster Street in Fort Wayne.
Strait met a Fort Wayne officer at the home where they found Andrew Marks. According to the police report, Marks initially denied being at the Coliseum Sunday night. After further questioning, the officer told Marks he wouldn’t be charged if he returned the phones.
The officer said Marks, 23, then returned four iPhones valued at a total of $1,900. According to the report, Marks told the officer he works as a dog mascot for Bob Evans. He said he and his manager were in the locker room taking their uniforms off when he swiped the phones.
Although Strait thinks the officer did a good job, he told NewsChannel 15 that he went to the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office Tuesday morning in an attempt to get charges filed against Marks.
Mad Ants President Jeff Potter calls the theft an unfortunate incident. Potter said he’s sorry that it happened and is working with the Coliseum and its staff to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“We have never had an issue there. We’ve got a number of police back there as you can imagine with the officials and with the other team,” Potter said. “So yeah it’s something that we’ve got to look into and make sure, is there something we could’ve done more?”
Still, Strait is pointing the blame at poor security for the dance team at the Mad Ants game.
“We didn’t have a protocol in place that allowed us to be as safe as we thought we were,” said Strait. “It’s great that we recovered the property, unfortunately I think we lost some innocence.”
Strait said the thefts have affected most of the young girls on the dance team.
“The only way to stop the things that have gone on in our city lately with the crime…somebody’s got to stand up. Somebody’s got to say, ‘Enough is enough. We want to do what’s right and be an example for our kids,'” the father said. “I didn’t want to go down at 11:00 on a Sunday night and knock on a door in a shady neighborhood. But I couldn’t look my kids in the face and say, ‘Oh well, your dad did everything that he could and you should do everything you [can].’”
As of Tuesday morning, a Bob Evans manager said Marks is no longer employed with the restaurant.
Marks was charged with possession of marijuana in 2010. That charge was later dismissed.