What started as a report of a stolen Dodge Challenger escalated Tuesday into suspected multiple thefts and fraudulent uses of credit cards at Walmart.
Salina Police Captain Paul Forrester said Wednesday that early Tuesday morning, Michelle (31) and Burney (34) Lovelace reported that someone had gotten into their garage overnight and stolen their 2014 silver with red stripes and wheel accents Dodge Challenger valued at $20,000. The vehicle had a temporary tag of C029171, he said. Inside the vehicle was a black leather Victoria’s Secret bag with credit cards and other purse items belonging to Michelle Lovelace, Forrester said.
Michelle Lovelace also reported that at approximately 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, someone had used one of her credit cards to purchase $77 worth of cigarettes at the Kwik Shop at 1600 S. Ninth. While talking with police, Michelle Lovelace received a text message that someone was attempting to use another of her credit cards at Walmart, 2900 S. Ninth, Forrester said.
According to Forrester, officers went to Walmart and through surveillance video were able to identify a suspect — Michael Emerick, 22, of Salina — who they found sitting at a CityGo bus stop with a large television. Forrester said that under the bench, they located a brown Fossil wallet with credit cards belonging to Michelle Lovelace and two Salina men who reported their vehicles being broken into:
Ian Green, 42, reported that his 2008 Nissan Armada was broken into in his driveway in the 2000 block of Highland and that his brown Fossil wallet containing credit cards and his driver’s license was stolen
Chris Rader, 62, reported that his 2006 Chevrolet Silverado had been broken into in the 2000 block of Quincy and his checkbook and wallet containing multiple credit cards stolen.
Forrester said that Michelle Lovelace’s credit card had been declined at Walmart, but that Emerick had allegedly used two of Green’s credit cards to purchase the television, several prepaid phone cards, and a prepaid debit card for a total of $483. Emerick also allegedly used one of Rader’s credit card’s to purchase an iPhone case, an adapter, and a prepaid cellphone for a total of $280.
Surveillance video also showed a blue or green late model Chevrolet Impala dropping Emerick off at Walmart, and Salina Police are looking for that vehicle and the driver, Forrester said. Additionally, the Dodge Challenger has yet to be found, he said.
Emerick was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property, criminal use of a financial card, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.