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Discount Card Busts Suspect

At approximately noon on Dec. 6, a cashier at the Rochelle Park Shop Rite reported her car keys were missing from behind her register. Within a short while, the keys were returned to the customer service counter. As she returned to her vehicle, she found that her car had been burglarized and that the suspect had rummaged through her purse, which was inside the vehicle. Her driver’s license, a bank card, credit card, gift card, cash, a makeup purse and loose change were missing.

Rochelle Park Detectives Jim DePreta and Chris Bermudez reviewed the surveillance video and observed a woman, who appeared to be in her 20’s, in the area of the victim’s keys. The suspect, who was wearing a black Eagles sweatshirt, was seen removing the keys and placing them in her pocket. Moments before she grabbed the keys, the woman appeared to scan a Price Plus discount Card through the Shop Rite computer system. Further video review displayed the same woman returning the keys to customer service later in the day. A subsequent computer search on the Price Plus card led detectives to an Elmwood Park address.

Before speaking to any suspects, detectives were informed that an attempt was made to use the victim’s stolen bank card at a Paramus A.C. Moore store.

On Dec. 11, detectives traveled to the Elmwood Park address and a woman who answered the door was wearing the very same Eagles sweatshirt. The suspect, Audrey Johnson, 28, of Elmwood Park, admitted to stealing the keys, returning to the Shop Rite later in the day, and then searching the lot for the victim’s car. Once she found the vehicle, she said she removed the victim’s purse, took items of value, locked the car and then returned the keys to customer service. She then made an attempt to use the gift card and bank card, however, the bank card was already reported stolen.

Detectives were only able to recover some of the loose change removed from the vehicle. Johnson was charged with burglary and theft, and she was released pending a court appearance. This was the second time Rochelle Park detectives have used a Price Plus card to track a suspect within two weeks.

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