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May 18, 2014

Lax security at superstore riles Sholley

Chinese men net $2,600 with fake plastic bearing names Jenna, Gail

— LEWISBURG — The two suspects were male Chinese nationals who couldn’t speak a word of English, used fake credit cards issued to females, women named Jenna Cousina and Gail Erdley, and yet were able to buy $2,600 in gift cards from Wal-Mart in Kelly Township.

That sent Union County Judge Michael Sholley through the roof from the bench.

Which one of you guys is Jenna? Gail?

“You mean to tell me Wal-Mart accepted credit cards from two male Chinese nationals who obviously weren’t females?” he asked Thursday.

Clearly he had had enough.

“I’m tired of Wal-Mart using the 17th Judicial District as a collection agency,” he said, citing “inept policies that make them targets for this activity” and “costs this county thousands of dollars” in prosecuting these cases.

Yuan Zheng, 23, and Jia Bin Zhang, 24, both of New York, pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor counts of theft by deception under false impression and unauthorized use of an access device issued to another — namely, fake credit cards with the names Cousina and Erdley, both of Brunswick, Ohio.

The incident occurred Sept. 26. The credit-card numbers were valid but stolen, and used on altered cards.

Attorney William Hobson, of Philadelphia, is seeking probation for both men, who also were charged with third-degree felonies of using an altered access device and related fraud. Interpreter Aixue Wang translated for the men.

Union County District Attorney D. Peter Johnson said he couldn’t say whether the two men had accomplices, but answered Sholley’s question with: “Yes, that’s what happened.”

Monthly, if not weekly, there are criminal charges filed in Union County against people for stealing from the Kelly Township Wal-Mart. The office of District Judge Leo Armbruster, whose jurisdiction includes Kelly Township, could not give a total for such cases in 2013.

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