RACINE — A second person has been charged in the alleged theft and fraudulent use of Caledonia priest’s credit card.
According to the criminal complaint, William E. Brooks was one of four people who stole credit cards and bank cards throughout southeastern Wisconsin and then used the cards to purchase hundreds of dollars in gift cards and other items at area stores and gas stations in September and October of last year.
The complaint alleges that the four-person team set up a system in which some members, one of whom was Brooks, 54, would steal credit cards and then hand them off to others for the purpose of purchasing gift cards which they would then sell to obtain drugs.
The complaint said that the priest — just one of group’s victims — left his wallet in a room at St. Rita’s Catholic Church, 4423 Douglas Ave., while he donated blood and later found it missing. A day care worker told police she saw a man leaving through a side door of the church. She said the man was not someone she had seen before.
Caledonia police began to pursue Brooks as a suspect after interviews with his alleged conspirators, one of whom, the complaint said, identified Brooks in still photos from surveillance footage.
Brooks has been charged with seven counts of felony personal ID theft as a repeat offender.
If convicted, he faces six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for each of the seven counts.
Probable cause was found to charge Brooks with the crimes during an initial appearance Friday in Racine County Circuit Court, according to online court records. Brooks is being held at a the Racine County Jail on $25,035 bond. A preliminary hearing in the case has be scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The first person charged in the alleged crime spree was Amanda McGettrick.
The 40-year-old Milwaukee woman was arrested in October for allegedly using the priest’s cards to buy gas and several hundred dollars worth of gift cards and one of her companions bought groceries, according to the complaint against her.
McGettrick was arrested after a West Allis police detective recognized a surveillance picture of her and contacted Caledonia police. Her job, according to the criminal complaint, was to use cards which had been stolen by other members of the ring.
McGettrick appeared in Racine County Circuit Court on Feb. 9 and faces six counts of felony ID theft as a party to the crime. If convicted of all six charges, she faces a maximum penalty of 36 years in prison or a $60,000 fine, or both.