ST. GEORGE — A 21-year-old man is facing 11 criminal charges after he stole the identity of a man he’d been living with and began passing himself off as the man, going so far as being booked into jail Wednesday under the man’s name and using the man’s stolen credit card to bail himself out.
After committing a series of crimes using the other man’s name, the 21-year-old man was eventually identified as 21-year-old Keein James Anthony Brown-Ford. Court records indicate he’s from Maple Heights, Ohio, and living in Los Angeles, California.
While driving in Washington County around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Brown was stopped by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and subsequently arrested on drug-related charges. The BMW he was driving was impounded and, after providing authorities with a California driver’s license, Brown was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility under the name Thomas Bryant Lewis.
By around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, officers were dispatched to a report of an individual attempting to use a stolen credit card to retrieve a stolen vehicle from the Winder Towing lot, 455 N. 2260 West, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Hurricane City Police Department in support of the arrest.
Officers located the suspect who identified himself as Thomas Bryant Lewis, the report stated. The individual proceeded to tell police that he had been arrested earlier that morning and was trying to get his car out of impound. The officer then asked him why the vehicle was listed as stolen if he was the registered owner.
“Keein (Brown) stated that he had reported the vehicle stolen yesterday (Tuesday) at approximately (3 p.m.) because he had lost contact with the vehicle using a tracking application on his phone,” the officer wrote in a sworn statement. “Keein then stated that he had returned from class and located the vehicle in the garage and called BMW to notify them that the vehicle was not stolen.”
Brown provided officers with a California driver’s license and an expired North Carolina driver’s license both belonging to Thomas Lewis, according to the report, which noted that Brown also had a California I.D. in his pocket belonging to Matthias Johnson.
“Keein also produced a small paper which contained four credit card numbers as well as the CVC codes for the numbers,” the officer wrote. “Keein stated that he had taken pictures of the cards to use as he was driving because he didn’t want to travel with the physical cards.”
Brown had attempted to run partial payments on three different credit cards for varying amounts, the report stated. However, the cards had already been reported stolen and the transactions were declined.
Authorities contacted Thomas Lewis who was listed on the vehicle registration and had reported his credit cards stolen.
Lewis told police that Brown had been staying with him for about three weeks, the report stated. When Lewis went out of town for several days, he heard through mutual acquaintances that Brown had been driving his vehicle. Lewis returned home to find his car missing along with clothing and other personal items.
He also told police one of his credit cards appeared to have been “mangled,” according to the statement. The man provided the credit card number to police who then determined the card number had been used to post Brown’s bail earlier that morning, and that it was being used to pay the car impound fees.
After speaking with Lewis, police again asked Brown what his name was and he continued to maintain that his name was Thomas Lewis.
“Keein (Brown) provided Thomas’ birthdate and Social Security number and stated, ‘My birth certificate is in the car,’” the officer wrote. Through information provided by Lewis, officers obtained Brown’s Social Security number and were able to properly identify him.
Brown was arrested again, on more serious charges, and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing Brown of a second-degree felony count of receiving stolen property; four third-degree felony counts of transferring information of a financial card; two class A misdemeanor counts of possession of another’s identifying documents and providing false personal information to police with the intent to be another actual person; and four class B misdemeanor counts of fraudulently using a financial card, along with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Judge Jeffrey Wilcox ordered $10,000 bail for Brown’s release pending trial. Brown was found indigent by the court during his initial court appearance Thursday and will be represented by court-appointed attorney Douglas Terry.
Brown remains in police custody as this report publishes.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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