Man jailed for allegedly keeping customer’s debit card in drive-thru to make thousands in purchases

File photo of St. George Police responding to 100 South and River Road, St. George, Dec. 17, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man was arrested for allegedly charging more than $5,000 on a debit card that police say the suspect failed to return to a customer in the drive-thru of a local fast food restaurant.

2016 file photo for illustrative purposes only of State Liquor Store at 161 N. 900 East in St. George, Utah, March 29, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The investigation into the incident was opened on Wednesday when an officer was tasked with following up on a theft report involving a debit card that was stolen and was being used at various businesses in the area.

According to the probable cause statement filed with the court, officers spoke to the woman who had called in to report the theft, and who also provided investigators with her bank statements showing the various charges that were debited from her account after the card went missing.

A more thorough review of the statements led officers to the Utah State Liquor Store where an employee pulled up a photo of the person using the card. With a photo in hand, officers then went to a fast food restaurant where several employees identified the individual in the liquor store photo as 24-year-old Justin Mikel Gerry of St. George.

Officers went to Gerry’s home and spoke to him. He reportedly admitted to using the woman’s bank card, saying she had come through the drive-thru where he worked and handed him the card to pay for her food. Gerry said instead of returning the card to the customer, he kept it and shortly thereafter, he said he started using the card frequently to pay for his purchases, according to the report.

Officers also noted there were several recent transactions on the card, including two that were still pending, and according to investigators, he remained silent when they asked him if he’d learned anything from the experience.

When the officer told Gerry his silence concerned him, he said it concerned him too, but the officer said he appeared to have no remorse, and acted as though he had done nothing wrong. Gerry told police he was having financial troubles, a statement the officer said was not supported by the nature of the charges which included payments to Door Dash, the liquor store, and others, according to police.

Gerry was arrested and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility facing two second-degree felonies, including theft and unlawful use of a financial card. He faces a third-degree felony count of unlawful acquisition of a financial card as well.

Gerry has no previous criminal record, according to a search of criminal court cases filed in Utah. He has since been released from custody.

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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