The third time was not a charm for a group of New Yorkers caught in downtown Darien trying to use possibly stolen gift cards to buy large amounts of cigarettes. Not only did a third attempt to use what police called “bad cards” not work, it led to their arrests.
The Darien Police arrested the group late Friday afternoon at the Darien Auto Specialists Gulf service station at the corner of Corbin Drive and the Post Road after getting several reports about the group using these cards.
With the gun report, at least five Darien Police cruisers reported to the scene in downtown Darien Friday about 5 p.m.
According to Lt. Ron Bussell of the Darien Police Department, the police first got a report from the area of Noroton Avenue and the Post Road that “someone attempted to make a purchase with bad cards.”
Another report came in from someone who saw a gun in the car, Bussell said. The police then got a report that another attempted purchase of a “large quantities of cigarettes” with a card that wasn’t good at Hecker Avenue and the Post Road, right across the street from the police station. The next stop for the group was the Gulf station at the corner of Corbin Drive and the Post Road.
“Again, they tried to purchase more cigarettes and the attendant declined to even allow them to try the card,” Bussell said, adding using a card for cigarettes is a common larceny attempt.
One of the Darien Police officers spotted the vehicle and made a “felony stop” given the previous report about a gun, Bussell told The Darien Times. The four people in the vehicle did not have a gun, but they did have more than 20 gift cards that weren’t activated, which meant they were either stolen and deactivated, or stolen from the store and never activated, he said.
Kidane Joseph, 30, Gerald Jones, 21, National Hall, 20, and Shannia Devon, 20, were all charged with three counts of criminal larceny in the 6th degree. Devon told the police at the scene she was pregnant and needed an ambulance. Once the ambulance arrived, she declined transport to the hospital. Devon was also charged for initially giving a false name to the police.
Joseph told Darien Police he bought the gift cards on the street for half their value.
All four were released after making their $150 bond.