In this scheme, a man and his female accomplice targeted crowded Connecticut movie theaters showing movies geared toward women and would position themselves behind intended victims. Then, the man would crawl on the floor and remove credit cards from a purse that a victim had placed on the floor during the movie, according to the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
Afterward, the couple would produce fake ID to match up with the stolen cards and those were used to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards and retail items, and also to make more than $5,000 in cash advances at Mohegan Sun Casino, according to the U.S. Attorney.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other Connecticut law enforcement agencies, including the Waterford Police Department, investigated the case.
A federal jury in Hartford has found Anthony Johnson, 49, of Philadelphia, guilty of credit card fraud and identity theft offenses stemming from tens of thousands of dollars in purchases he made on credit cards he stole from women in Connecticut movie theaters.
The case from the US Attorney:
On Dec. 27, 2008, Johnson and Lashirelle Bryant traveled from Pennsylvania to Connecticut and entered a movie theater in Greenwich. While the movie was playing, Johnson crawled on the floor and stole three credit cards from a female victim’s purse. Johnson and Bryant then left the theater and Johnson used equipment to produce a driver’s license in the victim’s name, but with Bryant’s photograph. Johnson and Bryant (at Johnson’s direction) used the stolen credit cards to make more than $50,000 in unauthorized purchases. The purchases included gift cards, clothing, electronics, designer sunglasses and a $10,000 Rolex watch.
Johnson also traveled to Connecticut on three occasions between April and August 2010 and stole credit cards from female patrons at theaters in Greenwich, Fairfield and Colchester. Johnson produced false driver’s licenses in each victim’s name, but with a photograph of Jamie McGowan, his female accomplice on these trips. McGowan, at Johnson’s direction, used the stolen credit cards and fraudulent identification to make purchases and get cash advances at Mohegan Sun Casino.