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A Philadelphia man was convicted of unauthorized use of credit cards and identity theft in a string of Connecticut movie theater thefts.
Anthony Johnson would purchase movie tickets to popular chick flicks. The 49-year-old man would then watch the women in the theater and see how they stored their pocketbooks, reports the Hartford Courant.
When the movie began, Johnson would start working. He would slither up, down, and in between the movie theater seats stealing the women's pocketbooks. Johnson would steal the credit cards and then replace the pocketbooks back in the women's bags so that the women would never suspect that they had been robbed.
Since at least 2007, Johnson and his accomplishes would steal as much as $70,000 a week by using the stolen credit cards to commit identity theft crimes. Commonly, Johnson would go to Connecticut's casinos and take out cash advances or go on shopping sprees, reports the Courant. In some cases, the illegal use of the cards would occur minutes after a movie began.
Testifying against him, one of Johnson's accomplices said that on a good weekend, Johnson would collect $50,000 to $70,000 from the scheme. On a bad weekend, he would have to settle for $30,000 to $40,000.
The FBI said that Johnson has been engaged in these movie theater thefts since he was released from prison in 2007 for a diamond heist in the Philadelphia area, reports the Courant.
Johnson was convicted of seven counts of unauthorized use of credit or debit cards, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. The unauthorized use of the credit and debit cards carry maximum 10-year sentences and the identity theft charges carry additional two-year sentences, reports the Courant.
Given his prior history of theft and his demonstrated inability to reform himself, Johnson could face the maximum penalties. His sentencing hearing is schedule for January next year.