Officer Ryan Lancaster responded to the Rhode Island Mall Sears on April 26 at 5:32 p.m. for a report of a shoplifting in progress. While enroute, he was advised by dispatch that the store’s loss prevention team were chasing the suspect across the back parking lot towards the Pawtuxet River. He was later told that the suspect had entered the river and was attempting to swim away.
Arriving at the scene the officer met with security at the rear of the Walmart parking lot. The suspect was pointed out swimming in the center of the river, and could be seen with his head above water. The man was staying away from the shore but was having obvious difficulty swimming due to the heavy clothing he was wearing, according to the report.
Officer Lancaster attempted to call to the suspect and convince him to exit the water, but he refused saying that he “wasn’t going back to prison” and was “on probation for other shoplifting charges.” After being in the water for approximately 10 minutes, the man came out and surrendered.
Identified as Eric Menard, 32, of 150 Lewiston Street in Warwick, he was still wearing the work boots, valued at $130, he was accused of taking from the store. He was placed into custody and handcuffed. The Warwick Fire Department was called to the scene, as the officer was concerned about Menard’s level of exhaustion and the possibility of hypothermia as Menard was shivering. He was then transported to Kent Hospital.
Sears personnel then provided an account of Menard’s activities in the store, where he was observed taking the Timberland boots and wearing them out of the store without making an attempt to pay.
After being released from the hospital, Menard was transported to police headquarters where he was charged with one count of felony shoplifting based upon prior convictions and the value of merchandise being greater than $100. He was also charged with being a habitual offender.
Sears was unable to place the boots back on the shelf for sale.
On May 3 at approximately 11 a.m., Officer Rose Michael met with a complainant in the lobby of police headquarters to take a cyber crime report.
There, the victim explained that she has purchased a $400 keyboard on April 30 through a website she had located on Amazon Market Place. She was advised by email that the purchase must be made using gift cards. She stated that she purchased four $100 Amazon gift cards, and provided their number to the seller. She was then sent a confirmation number.
The funds were taken from the gift cards, however she still had not received the keyboard when it was promised to be delivered, and the seller has not responded to any of her emails since the day of purchase. She has also been unsuccessful in relocating the seller’s website. After contacting Amazon, she was advised to file a police report. A written statement of events was taken and forwarded to department detectives.
Officer Rose Michael met with a woman at police headquarters on May 3 at approximately 11:52 a.m. for a fraud report.
According to the reporting party, she said she had received advertisement text messages on her phone regarding car wrap advertisement opportunities for the energy drink Red Bull, and to contact a provided email address for more information. The woman responded to the advertisement, and was informed that if she wrapped her vehicle with a Red Bull decal for three months she would earn $500 per week and agreed to participate.
On May 1 she received an envelope through the mail, and inside was a Resource One Credit Union check in the amount of $1,998.00. She was instructed to keep $500 of that amount as her first week’s pay, while the rest of the funds were to be used for the decal expense. Upon receiving the check, she was to notify the sender that it was received and the sender would provide information for a decal specialist to contact.
The woman stated that she did not attempt to cash the check or deposit it as she suspected it was fraudulent. After conducting research online she discovered that the operation was a scam. A written statement was taken from the victim, which was then forwarded to detectives for review.
FRAUDULENT USE OF CREDIT CARDS
At approximately 1:45 p.m. on May 4, Officer Rose Michael assisted a woman with a fraud report. According to the victim’s account, that day she received a text message from USAA, a company she has a Visa debit and credit card account with. The company was requesting authorization on two purchases which were made.
The first purchase was at the Warwick Best Buy for $2,728.48, and the second was made at the Providence Place Mall Apple store for an undisclosed amount. ‘
The woman stated that on May 4 she used her debit card at the Main Street Dunkin’ Donuts in West Warwick. She then placed the card in a wristlet, and said she was sure that her Visa card was in her wallet. She then drove to the Centerville Road YMCA at approximately 9 a.m., where she left her vehicle unlocked with her wristlet and cards in the car. When she returned the wristlet was still in the car.
Just after 11 a.m., she received the authorization text messages and checked the wristlet only to discover that both her cards were missing. She immediately called the creditor and cancelled the accounts. The victim stated that USAA did authorize the transactions, however a third transaction for $2,390 at a Connecticut Best Buy was declined. No purchase attempts were made using the debit card.
A claim was filed with the bank, which advised the complainant to file a police report. A written account was then taken, and then forwarded to detectives for follow up.