Prosecutors in the Bronx have charged 20-year-old Jennifer Mercado with credit card theft after a shopping spree in which she allegedly bought over $500 worth of stuff using someone else's credit card without authorization. She may have gotten the idea from jury service, because she did this while she was sitting as a juror in the trial of an accused credit card thief, and in fact she allegedly stole the credit card from another juror on the case and then brought her loot back to the courtroom.
John Postrk, a fellow juror in the case, said his American Express card had been stolen from his coat on March 8, which he apparently discovered on March 10. (The thief also absconded with one of the vowels in his last name.) In the meantime, his card was used to buy $500 in merchandise. Postrk told the judge about the theft on March 10 and said he suspected Mercado, because: (1) the card had been used in stores across the street from the courthouse, (2) at the times the jurors had their lunch breaks on each of the three days, and (3) Mercado had been returning from lunch each day with bags from stores that turned out to match the ones on Postrk's credit-card statement. "It's that person that came back with the baggage," Postrk told the judge, noting that one of the court officers had commented on the "nice bag" she had returned with one day.
Prosecutors (including the one doing the prosecuting in the pending case) then visited the stores along with Postrk, where they enjoyed security-camera footage of a woman who appeared to be Mercado making purchases with what appeared to be Postrk's credit card. Twenty minutes later, Mercado happened to return to that store (it was apparently lunchtime again), but when questioned by the manager, she dropped the credit card and walked out. She was arrested on March 12. Postrk stayed on the jury. The incident prompted a motion for mistrial, which was denied.
In addition to the bag, Mercado reportedly bought four pairs of shoes, including one pair of Air Jordans. The manager of that store said that Mercado "was talking nice to me, asking for a discount" on the merchandise she was buying with a stolen card.
Mercado is apparently arguing that Postrk gave her permission to use the card because he was interested in her. "He came on to me," she told the Daily News. "It's a he-said, she-said situation. In court, they will find out he's lying." If she had an explanation for why she dropped the card and left when questioned about it, it was not provided. And since this is a he-said, she-said situation, we may never know the truth.
As it turned out, Postrk and the other non-arrested jurors found that defendant not guilty on his credit-card charges, but convicted him of something else.
Link: New York Daily News