Rossiter Man Incarcerated for Deadly Crash Faces New Charges for Identity Theft

PUNXSUTAWNEY BOROUGH, Pa. (EYT) – A Rossiter man who is already behind bars on charges related to a deadly Indiana County crash last year is now facing additional charges after being connected to stolen credit cards in Punxsutawney.

Court documents indicate the Punxsutawney-based State Police filed criminal charges against 34-year-old James E. Brown, of Rossiter.

According to a criminal complaint, around 10:15 a.m. on April 14, 2018, Trooper Mosier, of the Punxsutawney-based State Police, spoke with an employee of a local mining company who reported that his wallet was stolen from his truck while it was parked in a parking lot in Punxsutawney Borough on March 26, 2018.

The complaint states the victim related that the mining company’s credit card was stolen from the wallet and was used at approximately 8:07 p.m. at a business in Punxsutawney Borough for $22.35, and at another business in Punxsutawney Borough at 8:14 p.m. Both businesses were stores located in the Groundhog Plaza on Hampton Avenue, Punxsutawney.

Trooper Mosier obtained video surveillance footage from both businesses.

According to the complaint, the suspect was then identified as James Eugene Brown by photos, recent video surveillance at the State Police barracks and at one of the businesses, and multiple officers.

Around 1:50 p.m. on July 24, 2018, Trooper Mosier interviewed Brown at the Indiana County Jail, where he was incarcerated. The complaint notes that Brown denied stealing the wallet from the vehicle and said he obtained the stolen credit card from another person on March 26, 2018, and used the card to purchase cigarettes, a cell phone, and phone air cards. Brown said he then returned the wallet and all of the cards to the other person.

Based on the investigation, the following charges were filed in Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock’s office on Monday, April 15, 2019:

  • Receiving Stolen Property, Misdemeanor 1
  • Forgery – Utters Forged Writing, Misdemeanor 1
  • Access Device Issued to Another Who Did Not Authorize Use, Misdemeanor 1
  • Identity Theft, Misdemeanor 1 (two counts)
  • Receiving Stolen Property, Misdemeanor 2
  • Access Device Issued to Another Who Did Not Authorize Use, Misdemeanor 2

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, April 23, with Judge Mizerock presiding.

Other criminal cases against Brown:

Court documents indicate Brown is also facing another hearing on a third-degree felony retail theft charge in Jefferson County on April 23, as well as a hearing in Indiana County on three second-degree misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property on April 29.

A major case against Brown is also currently pending in Indiana County Court of Common Pleas, in which he is charged with second-degree felony homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence and other charges in relation to a deadly crash last year at the intersection of State Route 119 and State Route 85 involving Pikel’s Gas Station in Rayne Township, Indiana County.

Brown has a lengthy criminal history throughout the region, as well, dating back to 2004 and ranging through Jefferson, Clearfield, and Indiana Counties.

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