Downey faces felonies in thefts

Published 12:40 pm Thursday, December 8, 2016

A 26-year-old Colonial Heights woman faces numerous felony and misdemeanor charges after police say she stole credit cards and IDs from shopping carts and open purses and pocketbooks in Farmville.

Stephanie Michelle Downey faces charges of credit card theft, credit card forgery, obtaining money by false pretenses and identity theft, according to Farmville police.

“In each incident, the wallets had been stolen from shopping carts while the owners were shopping or otherwise distracted,” Farmville Police Department Capt. William “Bill” Hogan said. “In at least two instances, the wallets were taken from open purses.”

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Downey was arrested in Farmville on Nov. 17, he said.

“On Nov. 14 and 16, two different female victims reported having their wallets stolen while shopping at businesses in Farmville,” Hogan said. “Credit cards from those wallets were then used, or attempted to be used, at other locations in town. The investigation led detectives to develop Downey as a suspect.”

Police say after Downey’s arrest, they recovered multiple credit cards and identification documents, including some from the original two victims.

“Shortly after the arrest, a third victim reported another stolen wallet from earlier that day. The third victim’s identification was among the items recovered during Downey’s arrest,” Hogan said. “Shoppers should take extra precautions, especially during the holiday season when stores are overcrowded, to keep their purses, handbags, wallets, etc. secure. Shoppers should not leave them unattended and should always keep then zippered or clasped shut.”