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Alabama man sentenced to 15 years for stealing credit cards

A judge sentenced a 37-year-old Dothan man to 15 years in prison after he entered a guilty plea to multiple felony theft crimes in Westgate Park. He was originally taken into custody in August 2014. Dothan police said the defendant broke into several cars in order to steal credit cards from purses. He then used the stolen cards to make fraudulent purchases around town. Police were tipped off to the crimes by a suspicious Sears employee who wrote down the defendant’s license plate number after he made a purchase. Once he was identified, authorities accessed surveillance video from other stores to build a criminal case.

The defendant and his 39-year-old wife were both taken into custody. In December, she pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, including first-degree felony theft, second-degree receiving stolen property and illegal possession of a credit card. She was sentenced to 30 months in prison, but it was suspended for 36 months of probation.

The defendant’s guilty pleas covered a total of 16 felonies, including first-degree identity theft, credit card fraud and breaking and entering. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for identity theft and 10 years each for the additional charges. The judge ruled that all the 10-year sentences would run concurrently, leaving him with a 15-year sentence.

Anyone facing theft charges may find it helpful to retain a criminal defense attorney immediately upon arrest. Having a lawyer present during police questioning could keep the defendant from giving statements that could be used against them in court. Legal representation could also review the case for weak evidence and negotiate with prosecutors to lower the charges.

Source: Dothan Eagle, “Westgate Park vehicle burglar sentenced to prison,” Matt Elofson, Feb. 27, 2015