The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

August 28, 2012

Suspect faces forgery charges in 2009 theft

SHARPSVILLE — A man who nearly three years ago was charged with forgery and theft after taking a business’ debit card finally is facing the charges.

Police couldn’t prosecute Thomas C. Bartlett, 37, because they couldn’t find him. Turns out the former Sharpsville resident has served multiple prison terms in New York in the past decade on burglary and possession of stolen property charges. According to New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision online records, Bartlett last was released from prison in August 2011.

On Aug. 18 he was driving in Jamestown, N.Y., at 4:07 a.m., and was pulled over for a burned-out brake light, according to a police report in The Post-Journal. That’s when police learned Bartlett was a wanted fugitive in Pennsylvania. They took him to jail in Jamestown, and on Friday he was returned to ercer County Jail. He remains held there on $50,000 bond.

Bartlett will report for his preliminary hearing on Friday on the charges that date back to December 2009.

Sharpsville police said they received a theft report on Dec. 6, 2009, from the owner of Gutter Boy Inc. Someone had activated a debit card connected to one of the business’ bank accounts and purchased or withdrawn $2,824.

The business owner, Mark Sansone Sr. learned of the theft when the manager of an Erie Kmart store contacted him and said a man, later identified as Bartlett, had tried to use the card in the store. When a clerk asked the man for photo ID, the man said his ID was in his car. He went outside to retrieve it, but never returned. The store kept the debit card and alerted the business.

Sansone then contacted the bank. The bank said the card had been activated a day earlier, and the first transaction was a $500 cash withdrawal.

The bank reported several other transactions, including at Sheetz on North Hermitage Road. When Sansone reviewed surveillance video at the convenience store, he recognized Bartlett. The business owner said days earlier Bartlett had been working on a computer in his office, and that’s where he stored banking records. He said he didn’t use or activate the debit card, in part because it was connected to a payroll account.

Bartlett is charged with forgery, theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, access device fraud, conspiracy and identity theft.

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