Crime

Van Nuys woman pleads guilty to Coachella Festival cell phone thefts

INDIO, Calif. - A Los Angeles County woman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property in connection with a rash of cell phone thefts at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and was immediately sentenced to 60 days custody and three years probation.

Sharon Ruiz, 25, of Van Nuys, must also enter a county work release program and pay restitution to seven victims.

Multiple counts of grand theft were dismissed as part of her plea deal.

Among her co-defendants, Brenda Cansino, 30, of Miami, also received jail time and probation after pleading guilty last month, while Marco Leon, 28, of Los Angeles, has not appeared in court since his attorney said in May that his client had been taken into custody by immigration officials.

The three were arrested after Indio police said they were found with cell phones and other property taken from attendees during the festival's second weekend.

The 2017 festival saw 277 people arrested or cited across both weekends, exceeding last year's total of 270. The 2017 festival crowd was larger than previous years due to the Indio City Council's approval of an attendance cap increase from 99,000 to 125,000 at the Empire Polo Grounds.


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