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State v. Cosey

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

February 3, 2015

UNITED STATE OF AMERICA,
v.
JOEL M. COSEY, Defendants.

OPINION

DONETTA W. AMBROSE, Senior District Judge.

Defendant, Joel M. Cosey, is charged with (1) conspiracy; (2) use of an unauthorized access device; (3) 2 counts of possession of device-making equipment; (4) possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices; and (5) aggravated identity theft. These charges followed a stop of the vehicle driven by Defendant on August 9, 2014 but the Ross Township Police Department.

Defendant moves to suppress evidence seized in connection with the traffic stop, a search of Defendant, and the search of the vehicle Defendant was driving and Defendant's hotel room. A hearing was held on October 30, 2014 and all briefing was completed on January 19, 2015.

Findings of Fact

1. On August 9, 2014, Officer Matthew Immekus of the Ross Township Police Department was at Nordstrom's Department Store at Ross Park Mall, instructing the store's loss prevention employees on handcuff techniques.

2. At that time, the store employees and Immekus were made aware of a female customer (later identified as Monique Morris), in the handbag department, who was randomly and quickly making selections. By video surveillance, he observed the female give the sales associate 6 handbags and a Vanilla Visa Card for payment. The price of the handbags was $1, 036.83. The sale was approved and the female signed the name "Shawna McKinley."

3. At the time, Immekus had experience investigating fraudulent credit and gift cards. From that experience, he knew that a Vanilla Visa card had a maximum dollar amount of $500.00.

4. Immekus next observed Morris purchase another handbag with a Master Card gift card. When the video surveillance was replayed and slowed down, he saw the numbers on the credit card and observed that the card had a flat finish on the left side and a shiny finish on the right.

5. From his experience, Immekus knew that the appearance of the card was consistent with a fraudulent card in that numbers would have to be sanded off before new numbers were placed on the card.

6. Also, by way of the video surveillance, Immekus saw Morris text "Joe, " relating what she was doing in the store. "Joe" by a return text, instructed Morris to get handbags.

7. Morris then continued shopping, quickly selecting merchandise, which she attempted to pay for with the Vanilla Visa and Master Card gift cards. When the cards were rejected, Morris refused the offers made by the clerks to call the card issuers and demanded the return of the cards.

8. Morris exited the store, still under surveillance. Morris met Defendant and they put the merchandise she had into a vehicle. They then re-entered the mall.

9. Back in the store, Nordstrom's loss prevention employee determined that the real numbers on the credit card Morris had used to make the second handbag purchase were not the numbers Immekus observed on the card via video surveillance. The credit card company, when contacted, would only state that the account was recently closed.

10. Immekus continued to conduct surveillance on the vehicle in which Morris had put the merchandise. Through the car windows, he observed the packages and a ...


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