WHITE HAVEN — A park ranger at Lehigh Gorge State Park investigating smash-and-grab thefts from vehicles noticed a pattern: the thief was using stolen bank cards at Walmart in Hazle Township.
When the park ranger alerted the store after the latest theft June 3, she was told state police arrested a man from White Haven.
Timothy John Jones, 28, was arraigned Wednesday on charges he was smashing car windows at the state park and stealing items, including bank and credit cards he used to purchase items at Walmart in May until his arrest.
Jones was arrested on multiple counts of identity theft and access device fraud when he attempted to use a stolen credit card to buy items at the Hazle Township Walmart.
According to a criminal complaint:
A ranger noticed a smashed window to an unattended vehicle at the state park May 19. When the owners of the car returned to their vehicle, they reported credit cards and other items were stolen.
One of the stolen cards was used the same day to make four high-priced purchases at Walmart.
Another unattended vehicle at the park was broken into May 26. The owner reported a .380-caliber pistol, bank cards, credit cards and prescription drugs were stolen.
Later the same day, the owner reported his credit card was used at a convenience store in Freeland, a Little Caesar’s Pizza location in Hazleton and at Walmart.
Jones and another unidentified man were recorded at Walmart using a stolen credit card to purchase two bicycles and other items at a self-checkout register. Their transaction was declined but Jones fled the store riding away on the bicycle, the complaint says.
A third vehicle parked at the state park June 3 was ransacked and the owner reported several credit cards and other items were taken.
Suspecting a pattern that the stolen credit cards were going to be used at Walmart, the ranger contacted store security but was told state police had already arrested Jones.
He was arraigned by District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr. in Luzerne County Central Court on four counts of theft and three counts of criminal mischief. He was remanded to the county lockup for lack of $25,000 bail.
Jones has been jailed since his arrest June 3 on $20,000 bail related to identify theft charges.