EDINBURGH, Ind. (April 20, 2016) – Five packs of stolen cigarettes led Edinburgh police to discover 834 other packs and 37 fraudulent charge cards in the thief’s car.
Police responded to the reported theft at a Shell gas station in the 8700 block of West State Road 252 around 1 p.m. Monday. Police say the alleged thief, Patrick Taylor, 25, had already fled the scene with Gerlissa Turner, 26, and their 3-year-old daughter.
The owner of the gas station told police that Taylor wanted to purchase five packs of cigarettes. The owner became suspicious when Taylor attempted to use a gift card to purchase the cigarettes and asked to purchase another five packs separately. The owner told police he asked Taylor for more information, but he got upset, grabbed the cigarettes and fled the store.
Police received descriptions of the suspects and their vehicle and sent it out to other authorities. A Johnson County sheriff’s deputy responded, saying he had pulled over a vehicle matching the description.
At the traffic stop, Taylor told police that it was all a misunderstanding. He said the card he used to buy the cigarettes went through and he even signed for the purchase.
Police searched Taylor and found several other receipts and a handwritten note in his pockets. Police say the note appeared to be instructions and contacts needed to buy 100 cards for $1,000, for an apparent criminal activity involving fraud.
Turner admitted to driving the car from the gas station, but denied driving recklessly.
Taylor and Turner were transported to the Shelby County Jail. Taylor was charged with fraud on financial institution, corrupt business influence, fraud, neglect of a dependent and theft. Turner is facing charges of fraud on financial institution, corrupt business influence, fraud and neglect of a dependent. The couple’s 3-year-old daughter was turned over to Child Protective Services until family could be contacted.
Police seized the car used in the incident and towed it to the Edinburgh Police Department. After obtaining a search warrant, police searched the car. During the search, police found 834 packs of Newport brand cigarettes in the passenger compartment and in the trunk, as well as 40 credit/gift cards. Police say 37 of the cards had banking account information that did not match the number printed on the individual cards.