You Can’t Make This Stuff Up – October 2017

A collection of odd and whacky news stories that caught the Loss Prevention Media staff's attention

Man defrauded his own family to fund travel, pay court fines

A Billings, Montana, man has been charged with defrauding family and friends out of tens of thousands of dollars, including his daughter who was unable to secure a student loan after he opened credit cards in her name. Robert Charles Love, 52, faces five felonies: theft, two counts of deceptive practices and two counts of identity theft. Love, who also faces two counts of misdemeanor theft, appeared in Yellowstone County Justice Court on Thursday. He was booked into the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on Wednesday with a $75,000 bond. Love allegedly opened credit cards in his daughter’s name and racked up charges of at least $13,000. He spent the money on a cruise to Mexico for himself and his girlfriend, stays at Chico Hot Springs, tanning bed sessions, annual referee fees to the Montana High School Association, restaurant and hotel tabs, pedicures and a court fine and supervision costs related to a DUI case, along with other purchases.Witnesses in the case told investigators they believe he also spent money on steroids. Love also allegedly added his girlfriend’s car to his daughter’s insurance policy without her consent.  
A witness told investigators Love had attempted to fraudulently open credit cards in the past, including in the names of his son, ex-girlfriend, the children’s mother and Love’s parents. Love charged $20,000 to the credit card he opened in his parents’ names. The daughter learned of the fraud while applying for a loan for college. She was denied based on a low credit score, but had previously had a high credit score, she said. Love also took $8,810 from the bank account of an acquaintance during the victim’s three-month hospital stay out of state and paid it to one of the fraudulent credit cards. Love later used that card to make payments to the same man on a truck Love was buying from him, according to charges. When Love still owed $19,000 on the truck, he tried to trade it in at Hertz Auto Sales but couldn’t because the title was still in the other man’s name. Love also attempted to charge the man’s accounts for tires and a new transmission on a second truck. A witness told investigators Love had been fired from a pest control job in California for stealing chemicals from the company and using the company gas card as his own. [Source: Billings Gazette]

“Surf and turf bandits” facing shoplifting charges

Three thieves in Rhode Island who authorities dubbed the “surf and turf bandits” are facing shoplifting charges. Police said Guy Tortis, 46, Maria Breggia, 46, and Ernest Dagostino, 46, were in custody Tuesday afternoon. All three hail from North Providence. They were charged in connection to stealing shrimp and steak at Dave’s Marketplace, a family-owned grocery store on Pontiac Avenue in Cranston. Police said Guy Tortis, 46, Maria Breggia, 46, and Ernest Dagostino, 46, were in custody Tuesday afternoon. All three hail from North Providence, Rhode Island.

Authorities previously said one of the suspects ordered four containers of shrimp at the seafood counter and then ordered four porterhouse steaks at the meat counter. They said he put the items in a shopping cart, which he handed off to the other two suspects. Investigators said those two placed more groceries in the cart, and put the shrimp and steaks into a large bag one of them was holding.They then left the store, said police, “making no effort to pay for their gourmet dinner.” “The Cranston Police Department would like to thank the members of the public who provided many tips, as well as the media who shared this information, all of which led to the discovery of the identity of these individuals,” police noted on Facebook.  [Source: TurnTo10 News]

Intoxicated man arrested after punching employee, stuffing beer down pants

Ricardo Cardenas was slurring his words when talking to police officers Wednesday afternoon, just moments after he tried to smuggle beer out of the Denton, Texas, Walmart in his pants, according to police. He had also made his way into the Walmart employee break room and punched an employee in the face, according to department spokesman Bryan Cose.  Cardenas, 25, was arrested on charges of assault and public intoxication.  Police said he walked into the Walmart in Denton, stuffed beer down his pants and made his way into the break room. Cose said police don’t know how or why he ended up there. One Walmart employee later saw Cardenas walking out of the room and confronted him. Cardenas then punched the employee  in the nose, according to Cose. It’s unclear whether the employee knew the suspect had beer in his pants at the time. Officers responded to the disturbance and when they spoke to Cardenas, he was swaying back and forth, and his eyes appeared glassy. The man also was slurring his speech, police said. [Source: Denton Record Chronical]

Police arrest naked man hiding in doughnut shop bathroom after shoplifting

A 25-year-old Joliet man remains locked up at the Will County jail after a series of bizarre events that unfolded after Joliet police officers tried to arrest him in connection with a retail theft at the Louis Joliet Mall. The incident involving Tievon Garner, occurred around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Deputy Police Chief Ed Gregory. Garner is now charged with felony retail theft, misdemeanor retail theft, three felony charges of resisting arrest and a felony charge of aggravated battery to a police officer. His bond has been set at $100,000. Over the weekend, the Macy’s department store security staff noticed Garner enter Macy’s with a shopping bag and proceed to put several Polo-brand shirts into his bag, Gregory said. Later, Garner tried to walk out of the store without paying for the merchandise, according to police.

The store LP team notified the Joliet Police Department about the retail theft in progress and officers responded to Mall Loop Drive. When Garner saw the police cars, he took off and ran across Route 30, Gregory said. First, he ran through the Circle K gas station, then scaled a fence and finally made it to the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts, where a store manager notified the police Garner was hiding inside one of the bathrooms and refusing to come out. Several officers entered the Dunkin’ Donuts, Gregory said, demanding Garner come out of the bathroom. “He refused commands to place his hands on his head and come out of the restroom,” Gregory said. Eventually, officers got the door open and found Garner had taken off all his clothes and was full of sweat. A scuffle ensued, and officers subdued the naked Joliet man. “He appeared to be under the influence of some substance,” Gregory said. Because of Garner’s erratic behavior, he was initially taken to Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center to be checked out. From there, the man was brought to the Will County Adult Detention Facility. As of Tuesday morning, Garner remained in the county jail.   Source: [Joliet Patch]

Stolen chicken leads to drug arrest at Phoenix grocery store

A shoplifted chicken led police to a drug arrest in Phoenix. Phoenix police report that on September 29 they were called to a Food City store near 43rd Avenue and McDowell road. A loss prevention associate alerted police that a woman, identified as 27-year-old Jamita Denise Conner, left the store with a packaged chicken concealed in her purse. Police said when they searched the purse they also allegedly found a pipe and methamphetamine. Conner was arrested for shoplifting and possession of dangerous drugs.  [Source: ABC15 Arizona News]

The stolen van was not hard to find, even if the man driving it was

Tropicale Foods in Fresno, California, had just opened for business about 7:45 a.m. Thursday when a man hopped into the company’s 2016 Chevrolet van with ice cream logos and GPS and took off, said Fresno Police Lieutenant Joe Gomez. The keys were in the ignition when the theft happened. The store manager used the vehicle’s GPS to help police find the easily identifiable van traveling at Marks and Dakota avenues. Officers stopped the van, but as they approached on foot, the thief sped away to a nearby big rig repair shop. The man abandoned the van and walked away blending in with employees. He pretended to work at the repair shop and told an officer, while pointing, that the suspect ran that way, Gomez said. When two other officers arrived, they realized Jarid Riley Taylor, 36, was the suspect. Taylor ran west through the lot but was caught. He was charged with burglary, auto theft, evading a peace officer and being an unlicensed driver. Taylor was also charged with possession of stolen property. A search found a SIM card on Taylor that was removed from the van, Gomez said. Taylor was also arrested on an outstanding felony warrant for auto theft from Oklahoma.  [Source: The Fresno Bee]


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