Road leads to jail for man on booze run in stolen ve­hi­cle

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

A jaunt in a stolen mini­van to a liquor store to buy booze with a stolen credit card ended up putting an Al­len­town man on the road to jail.

Jose En­rique Aponte-Or­tiz, 25, of the 200 block of North 10th Street, was sen­tenced in Mont­gomery County Court on Monday to 50 days to 23 months in the county jail af­ter he pleaded guilty to charges of theft by un­law­ful tak­ing and ac­cess de­vice fraud in con­nec­tion with a March 31, 2017, in­ci­dent dur­ing which he stole one man’s ve­hi­cle and an-

other man’s wal­let in Hat­field Town­ship so he could drive to a liquor store to buy rum.

Un­der a plea agree­ment ac­cepted by Judge Wil­liam R. Car­pen­ter, Aponte-Or­tiz also must com­plete three years’ pro­ba­tion af­ter he’s paroled.

The judge also or­dered Aponte-Or­tiz to pay $991 in resti­tu­tion in con­nec­tion with the case.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan about 1 p.m. when Hat­field Town­ship po­lice re­sponded to Cle­mens Food Group on Cle­mens Road af­ter one em­ployee re­ported that his car keys, a watch and other items had been taken from his bag in­side a locker room, and a sec­ond em­ployee re­ported his car keys and wal­let had been taken from his bag in the

locker room.

One of the vic­tims told po­lice that af­ter dis­cov­er­ing his keys were missing, he went out­side and found that his mini­van was missing, ac­cord­ing to an af­fi­davit of prob­a­ble cause.

A se­cu­rity of­fi­cer told po­lice that a male sus­pect had been at the busi­ness ear­lier that morn­ing to fill out a job ap­pli­ca­tion and was later in­ter­viewed, but had not been of­fered a job, and was “act­ing sus­pi­cious” prior to the thefts and hang­ing around ask­ing peo­ple for money, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

Surveil­lance video showed the man en­ter­ing the locker room and then ex­it­ing the busi­ness and walk­ing to­ward the area where one vic­tim’s mini­van was parked, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors looked at the job ap­pli­ca­tion and found the sus­pect, Apon­teOr­tiz, had pro­vided his

name, ad­dress and phone num­ber, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

Dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, one of the vic­tims told po­lice that his credit card had just been used at the Wal­mart and a liquor store at the Hill­town Cross­ings shop­ping cen­ter. Po­lice went to the liquor store and looked at video surveil­lance footage of Aponte-Or­tiz buy­ing a $25 bot­tle of rum with the stolen credit card.

Aponte-Or­tiz at­tempted to make an­other pur­chase of about $77 worth of liquor 15 min­utes later but left the store af­ter he was asked for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit.

The fol­low­ing day Al­len­town po­lice went to Apon­teOr­tiz’s res­i­dence at the be­hest of Hat­field po­lice and he pro­vided a photo ID in his name that matched the sus­pect cap­tured on video surveil­lance footage ob­tained dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, court doc­u­ments in­di­cate.

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