8 arrested for stealing wallets, cell phones at Welcome to Rockville festival, deputies say

Update: Two more people have been arrested as of Saturday night, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. Both individuals are being charged with grand theft, deputies said. 

At least six people were arrested Friday night during the "Welcome to Rockville" music festival in Daytona Beach, accused of pickpocketing dozens of cell phones and wallets from concertgoers, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office (VSO). 

According to the report, between 75 and 100 cell phones were stolen at Friday's event, and others reported missing credit cards or illegally used transactions.


Courtesy: Volusia Sheriff's Office

"Witnesses described suspects working in pairs - one reaching between into victims' pockets, bags, or purses, stealing the contents, then handing them off to another suspect," VSO said in a Facebook post.

The sheriff's office said it appears the suspects were Colombian nationals who lived in Los Angeles, California, and recently moved to Miami, Florida.

"My buddy's phone's missing," one person is heard telling a deputy in a body camera video released Saturday morning. 

VSO said all the suspects denied knowing about the alleged pickpocketing and knowing each other. 

"Everybody got stupid when we were questioning them, of course. 'How'd you get here?' ‘Well, we came from Miami, we came up on a bus,’ somebody else says it was a car, somebody else says it was a van," said Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.  "One thing in their story is they were contacted by three or four Cuban folks who said to them they could go to Daytona Beach and make some money 'cleaning.'"

According to an arrest report, a backpack was found in possession of one of the suspects and contained nearly 50 cell phones inside.

"We're in the process of trying to get into those cell phones to contact all of the victims, get identification done," the sheriff added.


Courtesy: Volusia Sheriff's Office

The sheriff's office has named four of the six arrested as Brandon Steven Paez Diaz, 31; German David Medina Cervantes, 33; Jessica Leyssa Bovona-Pajar, 33; and Brenda Moros, 41. Two others were not immediately named but identified as Hispanic women, ages 37 and 41.

"They're being charged with multiple counts, dozens and dozens of counts of theft, fraud – for the use of credit cards," Sheriff Chitwood explained. "We're trying to identify who the Cuban individuals were."

"Welcome to Rockville" is a four-day music festival held at Daytona International Speedway and draws hundreds of thousands to Florida. This year's headliners include Motley Crüe, Limpbizkit, Foo Fighters, and Slipknot, among dozens of other bands.

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Brandon Steven Paez Diaz

Representatives for the festival deferred inquiries to VSO.

Sheriff Chitwood told FOX 35 News that, as part of enhanced security measures, both uniformed and plainclothes officers were present at the festival.

"The camera system is on top of it," he added. "But this just goes to show you, here's an event that was advertised, come out, great weekend, everyone is going to have a lot of fun, and you have people here, legally or illegally, who figure it's a good way to commit a crime."