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Criminal Charges, Volume XXVI: Caught on camera

Jeremy Simon

Call it theft, lies and videotape.

This week’s assortment of crime stories shares one thing in common — credit card thieves who were caught on camera attempting to use stolen plastic. Aside from that shared element, we’ve got some unusual items that include an ice pick, a thief who tried to use a car as a deadly weapon and marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms.

Cold-hearted thief wields ice pick, plastic
It’s so cold in Wisconsin this time of year that local criminals apparently carry ice picks instead of firearms.

Jerry “Black” Anderson of Milwaukee was allegedly on a mini crime spree when he broke into an apartment during the early hours of Dec. 30, 2008, and came upon the tenant under the covers. The tenant told police he was awakened “by a man standing in his room next to his bed,” the Wisconsin State Journal reports, citing a criminal complaint. “The intruder was holding an ice pick in his hand, which he cocked back, the complaint states.”

But Anderson’s brain was as frozen as an early Midwestern winter morning, seemingly unable to recall what weapon he was holding. “Don’t call the police or I’ll shoot the place up,” the paper reports Anderson said. “Don’t try to be a hero.”

The complaint says that the intruder grabbed the man’s wallet and Sony Playstation 3 before taking off.

That wasn’t the first time Anderson had broken into the home. “Only four days earlier, the two residents of the apartment had come home to find computers, a roll of quarters and some video games missing from the apartment,” the paper reports. “Fingerprints were taken from the PS3 that was taken during the later burglary.” Those fingerprints were later run through the federal Automated Fingerprint Identification System, which confirmed they belonged to Anderson. Police say he was also seen on videotape using a stolen credit card at a convenience store.

In addition to the two burglaries at that same downtown apartment, Anderson also allegedly burglarized the apartment next door back in November. “Anderson was charged with three counts of burglary, armed robbery and identity theft, all as a repeat offender,” the Wisconsin State Journal reports. Maybe his time behind bars will give his brain time to thaw.

Homeless end up with student’s credit card
This must be Wisconsin week at Criminal Charges.

University of Wisconsin student Katherine Lonnborg’s stolen credit card ended up in the possession of two homeless people the day after Lonnberg spent the evening at a downtown club. At about 1:30 a.m., she discovered her wallet had been stolen, according to the Capital Times. Robert Miracle and Ashley Gibson were tentatively charged in connection with stealing the plastic after they tried to use the credit card later that morning to buy cigarettes at a Walgreens.

“Miracle said the card belonged to his girlfriend, but he was denied his purchase,” the Badger Herald reports. “Joel DeSpain, spokesman for the Madison Police Department, said Gibson walked into the store prior to Miracle and asked to purchase cigarettes with the same credit card. The clerk asked for her identification, but it did not match the name on the card,” the Herald reports. Miracle and Gibson left shortly after.

An officer stopped by the store and watched digital footage of the attempted card usage.

Police caught up with the criminal duo in the basement of the Wisconsin State Capitol, where homeless people often spend time, according to DeSpain. The unbelievably-named Miracle told police he was given the credit card by a man named Mike who wanted Miracle to buy a watch and cigarettes for him so he didn’t have to face the cold weather. Meanwhile, Gibson told police she was loaned the card by a woman.

In addition to Miracle and Gibson, tentative charges were also leveled at Dustin Wendell and Dietrich Jones in connection with the crime. For Lonnborg, it’s a lesson in why you shouldn’t party with your credit card.

Plastic leads cops to loads of drugs
Sometimes the investigation into a credit card theft turns up much more — like pounds of pot, mushrooms and lots of cash stashed in a trailer home.

Sioux Falls, S.D., police were on the trail of a credit card thief that had charged $800 worth of merchandise at Wal-Mart, Shoe Carnival and PetCo in just 45 minutes. After turning to witnesses and a surveillance video, the cops executed a warrant at the suspect’s trailer.

That’s where they located the unauthorized purchases — and more. “In addition to the newly purchased items, they found 29 pounds of packaged marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and $12,000 cash,” reports the Argus Leader.

According to Keloland Television, the discovery led to the arrest of Reymundo Sauceda, Ernesto Sauceda and Maria Pena on multiple drug charges. The trio are also expected to be charged in connection with the stolen credit card.

Credit card thief tries to run over a police officer
Kenneth Buskirk, Jr., of Huntingdon, W. Va., has been charged with attempted first degree murder after trying to run over a police office who was investigating a burglary at Marshall University.

That investigation led the officer to a building where he got into a foot chase with two men, who fled to a parked car. “The officer says as he approached the rear of the car, Buskirk put the car in reverse and tried to hit him. The officer then tried to open the car door, but Buskirk tried to drive off with the officer holding on to the open car door,” reports.

The incident isn’t the first time Buskirk has been in trouble with the law. He was previously caught on a gas station surveillance camera attempting to use the credit card and money order from a stolen purse to buy cigarettes.

See related: Don’t party with your credit card

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