MOUNT PLEASANT — Two Illinois men are facing multiple felony charges for identification theft after allegedly stealing a man’s wallet and credit cards from an Xperience Fitness gym located on Washington Avenue.
Christopher D. Bailes, 27, of Crystal Lake, Ill., and Cyril F. Ngwa, 28, of Matteson, Ill., are each charged with eight felony counts of personal identification theft for using an individual’s documents and money without the consent of the victim.
According to the criminal complaint:
On Jan. 7, a Mount Pleasant police officer was dispatched to Xperience Fitness, 5409 Washington Ave., for a reported theft.
Upon arrival, the officer spoke with the victim, who stated that he noticed his wallet was missing and that there were several fraudulent purchases made with his debit card and his mother’s debit card.
Both the victim and his mother stated that they did not give anyone permission to make purchases with their cards and that they wanted to press charges.
Bank records determined that more than $1,000 worth of transactions were made at Walgreens, Dollar General and Speedway stores on Feb. 5.
During the course of the investigation and by using surveillance video, police were able to identify Bailes and Ngwa.
Police were also made aware of other investigations in which the theft and subsequent use of stolen credit and debit cards was identical. The cards in the other cases were also stolen while victims were exercising at the gym. Within a short time those cards were used at pharmacies and retail stores to purchase Visa gift cards.
Investigators tracked the gift cards and open cases to Crest Hill, Ill., Lombard, Ill., Hickory Hills, Ill., Naperville, Ill., Arlington Heights, Ill., Kenosha, South Milwaukee and Brookfield. Investigators then obtained a GPS order for tracking Bailes cellular device. Bailes and Ngwa were tracked to a Planet Fitness gym in Monona and taken into custody. Planet Fitness cards, gym bags, credit/debit cards, Visa gift cards were found in their possession.
For the Mount Pleasant case, both Bailes and Ngwa had a cash bond set Tuesday at $5,000 and were assigned a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. March 21 in Racine County Circuit Court. Both remained in custody as of Tuesday night at the County Jail.