YORK COUNTY — A 21-year-old York woman has been charged with theft and drug charges after police say she tried to purchase two iPhones on another customer’s account at a Verizon store in the York Galleria Mall on Thursday.
Alexis Marie Mathis, of the 300 block of East King Street, is charged with theft by deception, identity theft, access device fraud, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a small amount of marijuana, and possessing the instruments of crime, according to Springettsbury Township Police.
Mathis was arrested Thursday after police were called to the Verizon store by an employee who reported a woman attempted to buy two iPhone XX Maxi phones, valued at $1,160 each, with identification and credit card the employee believed were fraudulent.
Police reported to the Verizon store located near the mall’s food court, where the met a store employee who reported:
- A female suspect, later identified as Mathis, entered the store at 12:04 p.m. and said she wanted to purchase two iPhones. The suspect reported she was told at Best Buy that there was a fraud alert on her account.
- The employee asked Mathisfor her account information, and Mathis provided Pennsylvania ID with the name Brenda Meline. The ID had a photo of Mathis.
- Mathis offered to show a credit card to verify her ID, and provided a Visa card with Meline’s name.
- The employee immediately suspected the ID and credit card were fraudulent, but told Mathis she would check the store’s inventory to see what they had, because she was able to verify that Brenda Meline had an account with Verizon.
- The employee returned and told Mathis the store did not have the iPhones she wanted in stock, but advised her to try a second Verizon store at the mall to check their inventory.
- After Mathis left to go to the other store, the employee called the second store and advised them about the suspected fraud attempt.
- Mathis arrived at the second store a few minutes later, and attempted to purchase the iPhones there.
- An employee at the second store told police Brenda Meline had been a customer with Verizon for 13 years, and contacted the actual Brenda Meline by phone to verify she was not in York attempting to make the purchase.
- The second store employee then called 911. As the employee was speaking to 911, Mathis left the store.
Police later discovered Mathis outside one of the Verizon stores she’d visited earlier, and followed her to a nearby McDonald’s, where they made contact with her.
Mathis told police she did not have ID on her, and the officer asked her to come to the patrol car with him so he could verify her identification. At that point, police say, Mathis began crying and admitted she had another ID. She told police she was homeless, down on her luck, and was there at the behest of two other people, who were expecting her to return with the phones, according to the criminal complaint.
Police determined Mathis had outstanding traffic warrants against her. A search of her wallet produced the false ID and credit card, along with a Social Security Card with Mathis’ Social Security Number on it. Police also found a plastic bag containing suspected marijuana, four capsules with an off-white powder substance, half of a pill of unknown origin, and a purple capsule. The purse also contained a non-conventional smoking device, according to police.
After being advised of her Miranda rights, police say Mathis explained that two acquaintances offered her between $1,000 and $2,000 to buy the phones for them. They arranged to get the fake ID, and she had a picture taken at an area CVS about two weeks prior, she told police. One of the acquaintances, a man named Tre, allegedly gave her the wallet containing the false ID and credit card before leaving her at the mall. She denied any knowledge of the suspected narcotics, police say.
Police told Meline the fact that her Social Security Card was located in the wallet indicated the items belonged to her, the criminal complaint states.
A search of Mathis’ phone recovered text messages between Mathis and the two others that indicated their plan to make the fraudulent purchases, police say.