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Cellphone sale goes wrong, prompts fight

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A Monroe County man who sold an expensive cellphone that later turned out to be stolen is accused of assaulting the Columbus resident who bought it, police said.

Timothy M. Mitchell, 34, of Bloomington, has been arrested on one misdemeanor count of battery following a skirmish related to sale of a Motorola cellphone, Columbus Police spokesman Lt. Matt Myers said.

Shortly before midnight Saturday, police were sent to a home in the 1000 block of Eighth Street to check a report of a fight, Myers said. When they arrived at the house near Eighth and California, a 43-year-old Columbus man said he had discovered — upon trying to activate the phone he bought from Mitchell — that the phone had been reported stolen, Myers said.

When Mitchell came by the Eighth Street house late Saturday night, the buyer confronted the Bloomington resident, Myers said. The accusation appeared to anger the Bloomington man, who began fighting with the Columbus man on the front porch with a number of witnesses watching, Myers said.

The cellphone buyer was struck in the face and hit with a fist during the fight, Myers said. As witnesses tried to break up the altercation, a neighbor announced that police were on their way — which prompted Mitchell to leave the house on foot, Myers said.

Since police were able to quickly get a description of the suspect, Lt. Jeff Williams was able to locate him walking nearby, Myers said. Mitchell gave conflicting stories to Williams concerning how he received cuts and bruises to his face, Myers said. But after witnesses identified Mitchell as the man who started the fight, he was arrested, Myers said.

While both Mitchell and the Columbus man were treated at the scene by paramedics, neither of them required hospitalization, Myers said.

Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash will determine what charges, if any, will be filed.

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