NORRISTOWN — A Philadelphia woman’s shopping spree with credit cards stolen from Limerick and Upper Providence shoppers has come at a high price – her freedom.
Diane Patricia Doughty, 22, of the 2300 block of Bolton Way, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to 1½-to-three years in the State Correctional Institution at Muncy after she pleaded guilty to charges of theft by unlawful taking, access device fraud and conspiracy in connection with incidents that occurred in Limerick and Upper Providence in November 2012.
Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, also ordered Doughty to complete three years’ probation after she’s paroled from prison.
Doughty is eligible for the state’s Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive program, which allows eligible non-violent offenders to receive reductions of their minimum state prison sentences if they successfully complete all required counseling programs and maintain good-conduct records in prison. Doughty could be released from prison after serving a minimum of 13½ months if she completes the program, court papers indicate.
Doughty and her alleged conspirator, Lashyia Marie Johns, will be responsible for paying restitution to the victims. While the total restitution has yet to be determined, it will be at least $1,362, court papers indicate.
Johns, 24, of North Marshall Street, Philadelphia, previously pleaded guilty to charges of access device fraud, conspiracy and receiving stolen property in connection with the incidents and is awaiting sentencing, according to court records.
An investigation of the women began Nov. 16, when detectives in Limerick and Upper Providence received separate reports from shoppers at township businesses that their credit cards were stolen from their purses and then used to purchase items at other area stores, according to court documents.
In Upper Providence, a woman told authorities that she was at an eating establishment in Wegmans Food Market when she discovered several credit cards were missing from her purse, according to the arrest affidavit filed by Upper Providence Detective Raymond Bechtel III. The investigation determined that the credit cards were used the same day to make 14 successful unauthorized purchases, totaling $4,896. The thieves also made four unsuccessful attempts with the cards to purchase goods totaling $997, detectives alleged.
Around the same time, Limerick detectives received a complaint from a Bechtelsville, Berks County, woman who reported that her wallet was stolen from a jacket she hung over a chair while at the Applebee’s restaurant on Buckwalter Road in the Limerick Shopping Center. The investigation determined that fraudulent purchases, totaling $1,362, were made with the credit card on the same day, according to the arrest affidavit filed by Limerick Detective Ernie Morris.
Doughty and Johns, who were identified as the culprits with the use of store video surveillance, used the stolen credit cards to make unauthorized purchases at various stores in Upper Providence and Limerick, including Target, Best Buy and Giant Food Store, according to the criminal complaint.