TOPIC: Federal jury convicts movie theater crawler
Federal jury convicts movie theater crawler 25 Oct 2012 00:48 #39412
HARTFORD -- Anthony Johnson's weekends of crawling across movie theater floors, pilfering purses and running up $30,000 bills on other people's credit cards are over for now.
The 49-year-old convicted felon -- who made a living selling the $1,000 gift cards, iPods, cellphones and designer sunglasses he bought using the stolen cards -- was convicted Monday by a U.S. District Court jury on seven charges of using a stolen credit card and two charges of identity theft.
The thefts took place between 2008 and 2010 at several movie theaters, including Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich and Fairfield Cinemas.
Johnson faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the stolen credit card charges and a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence on each of the two identity theft charges when he is sentenced Jan. 14.
Johnson, formerly of Philadelphia, was known on the streets there as "Hustlin' Tone." He drove a gold Mercedes and had a taste for dapper designer clothes and high-end sunglasses.
In court Monday, he was dressed more conservatively in a beige suit and white shirt with a black patterned tie. He showed no emotion when the 12-member jury returned its guilty verdicts after little more than two hours of deliberation. The verdict ended a three-day trial.
The jurors apparently believed testimony from Jamie Lynn McGowan and Lashirelle Bryant, two of Johnson's accomplices. Both testified against him last week.
McGowan described Johnson as slithering "like a snake" across movie theater floors before reaching inside partially opened purses and pilfering the credit cards when she testified last week.
After the pair had several cards, they would leave the theater for their rented van. Johnson would then create an identity card using the victim's name and McGowan's photograph, the accomplice said.
Once that was done, he would send McGowan on a spending spree hitting Targets, --where the goal was to buy 10 $1,000 gift cards, phone cards, electronics and clothing -- or the state's casinos, where she would obtain $2,000 cash advances and buy Cartier sunglasses costing $500 to $800 each. Johnson would then sell the items at a discounted price often getting just $500 for the gift cards.
"A good weekend was $50,000 to $70,000," McGowan told the jury. "Thirty (thousand) to $40,000 was a bad weekend."
She said Johnson chose primarily Fairfield County theaters showing movies like "Eat, Pray, Love;" "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button;" and "Twilight Eclipse" because "there'd be a lot of white women there ... He said these were million-dollar movies."
Both women pleaded guilty to one count each of use of a stolen credit card and aggravated identity theft. Each faces a federal sentencing guideline of 36 to 42 months in prison.
"This was not the outcome that Mr. Johnson hoped for," said Frank Riccio II, his court-appointed lawyer. "None of the victims who testified could identify Mr. Johnson as the thief. His accomplices did identify him, but they were motivated by their cooperation agreement with the government."
Riccio said Johnson intends to appeal the conviction.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Raul Kale and Paul McConnell prosecuted the case, which was the result of an investigation by the FBI with the help of local police.
Read more: www.ctpost.com/news/article/Federal-jury...88.php#ixzz2AGremB3I
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