Clipped pole tips police to multi-million dollar smartphone heis - News, Weather & Sports

Clipped pole tips police to multi-million dollar smartphone heist

The broken utility pole. The broken utility pole.
The stolen cargo of smartphones found inside the trailer (Source: KSP) The stolen cargo of smartphones found inside the trailer (Source: KSP)
Juan Perez-Gonzales Juan Perez-Gonzales
Larry Embry Larry Embry
Laura Pintalla Laura Pintalla

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Commercial truck driver Juan Perez-Gonzales has had lots of explaining to do the past three days, beginning with the cracked power pole off of Knopp Avenue and Grade Lane.

"It was cracked pretty severely from top to bottom," said Larry Embry, a salvage yard owner. "I called it into LG&E because of the danger of the pole falling and hitting someone."

Embry is not all that surprised a semi hit it. The turn is tight from Knopp Avenue onto Abell. Often, truckers swing wide to clear it. But he didn't expect the driver to keep on going.

"If I'd have caught it, I'd have written down his license number," Embry said.

Perez-Gonzalez insists he's not the driver in question.

"I was at my house," he said.

But Kentucky State Police and the National Insurance Crime Bureau allege that he was. For at least the next block or so on Knopp Avenue. Whoever was driving, they say, stopped in front of Cornette's Truck Repairs Shop, left the loaded 53-foot trailer, and took off.

"The rest of the story was amazing," Embry said.

Inside the trailer: almost $12.5 million worth of LG SmartPhones. The phones were reported stolen from Gary, Indiana on October 22. Off camera, several people connected to businesses nearby told WAVE 3 News that law officers appeared to have been waiting for the rig to appear.

"They come knocking on my door, 6 o'clock in the afternoon," Perez-Gonzales said. "They didn't explain why they were arresting me or nothin! They didn't read my rights to me, nothing!"

Perez-Gonzales' house is in Louisville's Portland neighborhood, about twelve miles from Knopp Avenue. The drive takes about 19 minutes. He's out on bond, charged with leaving the scene of an accident, receiving more than $10,000 in stolen property, and theft of more than $1 million in property.

"All I can tell you is that it's an ongoing investigation," said Sgt. Rick Saint-Blancard of the Kentucky State Police. "More arrests are expected."

Laura Pintalla, Perez-Gonzales' fiancee, insists her husband-to-be is a victim of mistaken identity.

"This is someone saying they saw him," Pintalla said. "They're confused. They don't know what they're talking about. We have a lawyer, so they need better evidence than that."

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