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Man charged with credit card theft scheme enters plea, faces charges in other counties

Man charged with credit card theft scheme enters plea, faces charges in other counties
(Central Booking, HANDOUT)

A Washington, D.C., man who used credit cards he stole from gym lockers to make fraudulent purchases entered a plea agreement Monday in Carroll County and faces similar charges in at least four other jurisdictions.

Michael James Reed, 22, pleaded not guilty but agreed not to challenge the state's version of the facts in two cases to conspiracy to commit a theft scheme for $1,000 to less than $10,000, credit card theft and use of a stolen credit card.

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Reed was sentenced by Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Fred S. Hecker to two concurrent four-year terms for the conspiracy to commit theft scheme and use of a stolen credit card charges, as well as an 18-month concurrent sentence for the credit card theft charge.

Reed faces similar charges in Anne Arundel, Charles and Montgomery counties as well as Washington, D.C., according to electronic court files.

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Federal prosecutors may become involved but an indictment has not been issued yet, according to Carroll County Senior Assistant State's Attorney Melissa Hockensmith.

"I am not relying on the feds to take the case," she said.

Public defender Lee McNulty said he has had clients in the past who received lower aggregate sentences in federal court than in the county circuit courts where they face charges.

Hecker said he is obliged to sentence Reed based on his behavior in Carroll County, notwithstanding possible penalties issued by other jurisdictions or potential federal involvement in the case.

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"Mr. Reed, you went on a tear in this county, and it appears in other jurisdictions," Hecker said.

On Feb. 6, Reed stole a wallet out of a secured locker at Gold's Gym in Westminster and used the victim's credit cards at several locations around Westminster to buy consumer goods and gift cards, according to the statement of facts read into the record by Hockensmith.

Within minutes of the theft, police found evidence Reed and two other suspects purchased merchandise and gift cards from the Staples store in Westminster, according to Hockensmith.

Later on Feb. 6, police responded to a theft report at the Target store in Westminster and learned that three people, one later identified as Reed, made purchases using the credit cards of the victim whose wallet was stolen at Gold's Gym, according to Hockensmith.

On Feb. 18, police learned the United States Capitol Police had issued a warrant for Reed charging him with conspiracy to commit fraud using a similar method in Washington, D.C., according to Hockensmith.

While in custody, Reed was charged in connection with an additional theft incident which was also the subject of Monday's plea.

The second incident occurred in April when Reed stole a wallet from an unsecured locker at Health Unlimited in Mount Airy, according to Hockensmith.

The victim noticed his wallet was missing when he got home from the gym and his bank notified him his credit cards had been used at a pharmacy in Damascus to buy gift cards, according to Hockensmith.

An associate from the gym identified Reed as the man who signed in on the day of the theft, but it was determined he provided a false name which was associated with a similar theft in Anne Arundel County, according to Hockensmith.

Antonio Demetrius McCallister, 20, of Silver Spring, was also charged in connection with the Mount Airy theft and was found guilty Aug. 8 of one count of use of a stolen credit card in the District Court of Maryland for Carroll County, according to electronic court files. McCallister was sentenced to one year in prison and the case is on appeal, according to electronic court files.

Reach staff writer Heather Cobun at 410-857-7898 or email heather.cobun@carrollcountytimes.com.

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