Four Logansport residents charged for alleged return fraud – pharostribune.com

Four Logansport residents are facing charges of corrupt business influence, a Level 5 felony, and organized theft, a Level 6 felony, for a scam that involved stealing items from Walmart and returning them for store gift cards.

Kim Harris and Mark Thomas were arrested this week for their roles in a return fraud case that occurred in July. Matthew Council and Joshua Ellis were also involved in the scheme.

According to court documents, Council entered Walmart on July 22 and concealed wrist braces, a socket set, a drill, a utility knife, Zippo lighters, seven jewelry items, a watch, and an unidentified item from the pharmacy in a backpack over multiple visits.

The next day, Ellis returned some of the items that Council concealed in his bag the day before. Since there were no receipts for the items, Ellis received credit through a store gift card. Council, who was located in a different area of the store, took a hoodie from a clothing aisle and put it on. He also placed bandanas and an unknown item from the health and beauty department into his backpack.

Ellis and Harris used the gift card Ellis received earlier that day to pay for an item. Council and Thomas also used a gift card to buy drinks from a cooler. After Council finished his drink, he took an unopened drink from a cooler and replaced it with his empty bottle. Ellis also took an item from the deli and did not pay for it before leaving the store.

The group returned to the store on July 24, and Council concealed two electric shavers and at least two other unidentified items in his backpack. On his way out of the store, Council was intercepted by a Walmart asset protection operations coach. The probable cause affidavit stated that multiple store merchandise items were found inside the backpack. The entire group then left the store.

The last incident detailed in the probable cause affidavit occurred on July 27. On that day, Ellis payed for four items from the menswear department with a gift card, and Council was seen placing an unidentified object in his backpack.

Thomas was arrested on a warrant and booked into the Cass County Jail on Tuesday, and Harris was arrested on a warrant and booked into jail on Wednesday. They are both scheduled for pretrial conferences in January and a jury trial in February. As of Friday afternoon, there were warrants out for both Ellis and Council’s arrests.

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