CLEARFIELD – Two people accused of stealing jewelry and personal checks and cashing them in waived their rights to preliminary hearings during Centralized Court on Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.
Michael Brooks Whitmore, 30, of DuBois is facing charges of criminal conspiracy/theft by unlawful taking; receiving stolen property; criminal conspiracy/burglary; criminal conspiracy/criminal mischief; criminal trespass; access device fraud; and forgery. In a second case, he’s charged with criminal conspiracy/receiving stolen property.
Rebecca Marie Carfley, 26, of Curwensville has been charged with criminal conspiracy/theft by unlawful taking; criminal conspiracy/receiving stolen property; burglary; criminal mischief; criminal conspiracy/criminal trespass; and possessing access device knowing counterfeit, altered. In a second case, she’s been charged with forgery; theft by unlawful taking; and receiving stolen property.
According to the affidavits of probable cause, on Oct. 16, Chief David R. Johnston of the Curwensville Borough police responded to an attempted burglary on Anderson Avenue. Upon arrival he met with a woman who suspected someone had attempted to enter her residence Oct. 11.
The woman led Johnston to the primary garage door on the southern side of her residence, which is visible from the street. She provided Johnston with a Pennsylvania photo ID card that was found outside near the garage door after returning from Arizona.
In committing the alleged burglary, the suspect(s) apparently forced open the garage door, splitting the wood away from the deadbolt. Then, they attempted to slide the locking mechanism over with a Shop ‘N Save perks card, which was damaged, said Johnston in the affidavit of probable cause.
After the woman didn’t find anything missing, Johnston asked her if she had a checking account, which she did. He asked her to obtain her checkbook, so that she could inspect them for any missing checks. He advised her that one had been recovered from Carfley on Oct. 13 after she attempted to use it at the Sheetz store in Clearfield.
Johnston told the woman that he suspected Carfley had gained access to her residence. After inspecting her checking account records, the woman discovered that three checks were missing from an unused checkbook. The woman said she didn’t provide those checks to Carfley. Later Oct. 16, the woman reported she had missing jewelry.
Johnston contacted Chief Vincent McGinnis of the Clearfield Borough police about the alleged incident at the Clearfield Sheetz store on Oct. 13. He advised McGinnis that Curwensville Borough police had recovered a suspected stolen check, which they were investigating. He indicated to McGinnis that there should be another missing check with the woman’s name on it.
McGinnis provided Johnston with the check number that the Clearfield Borough police had confiscated from Carfley, and it was one of the missing checks that had been removed from the woman’s residence. The woman contacted her bank to stop payment on the three missing checks.
On Oct. 16, the woman stopped at the police station with a clear sandwich bag full of jewelry. She advised she had gone to the residence of Carfley’s mother. The defendant’s mother searched her residence and located several pieces of jewelry in a location, where Carfley is known to hide items. The woman identified these jewelry items as belonging to her, and they were allegedly stolen during the burglary.
While the woman was at the police station, Johnston contacted a jewelry store in Clearfield. He was informed that Carfley had entered the store, which purchased items from her. She came in with a male to drop off a diamond engagement set to be cleaned. A few days later, the male called the store, saying they no longer wanted the rings. They wanted to sell them. The woman had diamond rings stolen, including an engagement ring set.
On Oct. 17, Johnston was contacted and notified that Carfley had entered the Clearfield jewelry store the day before. She came in with costume jewelry that would not have been purchased by the store. Johnston was advised Carfley had also entered the store Oct. 11. He said the investigation is continuing into the costume jewelry that had been discovered in the hiding place that Carfley uses in the basement of her residence.
On Oct. 18, Johnston interviewed Carfley at the CCJ. She admitted to being involved with the theft of jewelry at the woman’s residence. However, she said she didn’t enter the residence.
Instead, she alleged another male gained entry. She said Whitmore had driven them to the residence. When asked about the checks, she told Johnston that she’d instructed the male to remove them.
Carfley said the male went into the woman’s residence and handed them the stolen items upon his return. After the jewelry had been sold, she said the male was paid an unknown amount.
She said Whitmore had taken costume jewelry into the Clearfield jewelry store, and they declined purchasing it. However, she said he sold diamond rings to the store. In addition, she said a diamond ring was sold to a jewelry store in DuBois. She said Whitmore used his ID and he was paid $867.
On Oct. 23, Johnston interviewed Whitmore at the CCJ. He advised Johnston that he had difficulty recalling what had occurred. When asked about the diamond ring sold to the DuBois jewelry store, he said that Carfley didn’t have any ID and he presented his ID. He said that Carfley was provided the money.
Johnston said that he was advised by the DuBois jewelry store that upon selling one diamond ring, Carfley and Whitmore used some of that money to purchase another diamond ring.
When asked about the Anderson Avenue burglary, he admitted to being with Carfley and another male the day of the alleged incident. However, he couldn’t recall many details of what had occurred.
On Nov. 4 Johnston spoke to the woman about her neighbor who had observed a vehicle pull into her driveway that matched the description of the Whitmore vehicle. According to her, he saw someone exit the vehicle and run into the residence. The person returned to the vehicle and left. Later on he told her the same vehicle returned, and the operator pulled into the driveway. Then, they pulled down toward the end of the street and sat there a while.
On Nov. 6 Johnston went to Sheetz on the B-Line Highway and spoke to an on-duty manager. He viewed the surveillance footage for the timeframe on Oct. 13 during which one of the woman’s stolen checks was electronically cashed to make a purchase. Johnston identified Whitmore as the person who was cashing the check. He purchased three Vanilla Visa Metallic Pre-paid Cards at $100 each and two Vanilla Visa Metallic Pre-paid Cards at $50 each. The cards totaled $425, or $427.75 with fees.
Johnston went to the DuBois Jewelry store and obtained a flash drive with surveillance video from Oct. 12. He later identified Carfley and Whitmore in the store, where they sold a stolen diamond ring from the woman’s residence. The stolen ring was valued at $9,000; the store purchased the ring for $867.
He went to the Blinker Light Sheetz in Sandy Township. He viewed surveillance footage of the timeframe on Oct. 13 during which one of the woman’s stolen checks was electronically cashed to make a purchase. He identified Whitmore as the person who was cashing the check. He then purchased two Vanilla Visa Metallic Pre-paid Cards for $100 each and one for $25. The cards totaled $225, or $240.85 with fees.
On Nov. 8 Johnston contacted the woman’s neighbor who related he’d been working in his yard on the day of the alleged burglary. He observed a vehicle stop in the driveway of the woman’s residence. He wasn’t certain of its color but noticed the temporary registration paperwork in the rear window. One person ran into the residence, and he couldn’t see if they were male or female. He said the operator traveled to the dead end area of Anderson Avenue and turned around and sat there an extended period of time. He could only see one occupant inside the vehicle, a male operator. He said the operator pulled from the stationary position and drove east on Anderson Avenue near the woman’s residence. Someone entered the vehicle.
On the same day, the man said the vehicle returned and stopped at the woman’s residence. Someone exited the vehicle. The operator drove to the dead end area again, and the only occupant was the male operator. The operator sat there a short time before pulling away and driving east. The man attempted to follow the suspect vehicle; however, it sped away. When he returned to his residence, he observed the vehicle exiting Anderson Avenue.
The man told Johnston these events occurred Oct. 10.
On Nov. 20, Johnston contacted Shop ‘N Save Perks and confirmed that Carfley is registered with a perks card.
On Nov. 21, Johnston interviewed Carfley at the CCJ. She again related that she didn’t enter the woman’s Anderson Avenue residence. She said Whitmore and another male went to the male’s residence. The male obtained two rings, which Carfley had observed. Then, they proceeded to the woman’s residence on Anderson Avenue.
According to her, Whitmore stopped just before the woman’s residence, and the male exited the vehicle. He went into the woman’s residence. Whitmore continued westbound on Anderson Avenue, turned around and pulled over. After stopping for a short time, he drove to the residence and the male entered the vehicle.
She said the male handed Whitmore the jewelry, which was taken to the Clearfield and DuBois jewelry stores, except for one gold rope necklace. She said the male kept this one for himself, as he liked it.
In the affidavit of probable cause, Johnston said that Carfley knew the woman who was her aunt. She also knew about her being away on vacation. Carfley’s mother told the woman that she’d mentioned this to her daughter. He said Curwensville Borough police were aware Carfley had one of the stolen checks in her possession, and she had a tendency for removing them from the rear portions of checkbooks when stealing them.
According to the affidavits of probable cause for the second case, on Aug. 8, a woman reported three checks were stolen from her purse that was inside her vehicle. She’d gone to retrieve an item from her purse and couldn’t locate it. Upon returning home, she logged onto her checking account online and discovered a check had been cashed in the amount of $317.85. She then found three checks had been stolen from her checkbook. She went to her bank to stop payment.
In the transaction summary, Johnston said it indicates the time stamp was 3:37 a.m. at the Sheetz in DuBois.
The woman said she had been at Carfley’s residence and her car was parked there, and Carfley was outside. The woman looked out the window and observed Carfley leaning over into the driver’s side window, where the woman’s purse was located. The woman said Carfley had a container of deodorant in her hands, which was inside her purse.
The woman inspected the contents of her purse and located her money.
On Oct. 14, Carfley was transported to the Curwensville Borough Police Department. She agreed to speak with Officer Mark R. Kelly and Johnston. When asked if she had any checks from the woman’s vehicle, she admitted to stealing three. When asked if she’d purchased anything with the stolen checks, Carfley said she used one electronically at the DuBois Sheetz store. When asked about cashing a different check, she said that Whitmore cashed it in the amount of $120. When asked about the last check, she said they got rid of it, and it hadn’t been cashed anywhere.
The woman told police that she didn’t sign the three checks. She also didn’t sign them to Carfley.