A DePauw University student was arrested Wednesday on nine felony charges including theft, fraud and forgery, after stealing another student's credit card and racking up nearly $600 in food and merchandise.
Christina Marie Lopez, 19, New York City, was arrested by DePauw Police Officer Matthew Demmings and charged with one count of theft, a class D felony, four counts of fraud, a class D felony, and four counts of forgery, a class C felony.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed with the Putnam County Prosecutor's Office, Lopez, a Resident Advisor (RA) at Bloomington Street Hall, told investigators that she found another student's credit card on the floor in the dorm and used it to make purchases from Dec. 9-15, 2007, in Greencastle, Greenwood and Burbank, Ill.
Lopez used the stolen card to purchase clothing, tobacco products and food at several local businesses including the Greencastle Wal-Mart, Monon Restaurant, Marvin's, No. 1 Chinese, Dollar General, Clark Gas Station and Speedway, according to the affidavit.
The credit card was also used to buy clothing at several stores in the Greenwood Park Mall, and was finally declined at a store in Burbank, Ill. after a total of $598 in unauthorized charges.
Lopez told investigators that she was experiencing financial difficulty after racking up high medical bills last year, and was struggling to get by on her $80 per month RA wages. She added that she was not receiving financial support from her family and was in Greencastle over the school vacation because she could not afford a ticket home for the holiday.
"I don't think that people understand that using a stolen credit card is forgery. Forgery is a C felony so it's a very serious matter" Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter said. "If you use a stolen credit card for $10 it's just the same as if you bought an LCD T.V. for $1,000."
Bookwalter indicated however, that though Lopez is currently charged with nine felonies, he expects that those charges will eventually be lowered.
Lopez had no criminal record, said Bookwalter, and his office will likely seek to secure full restitution, drop some charges to misdemeanors and pursue probation.
Lopez made an initial court appearance Thursday, and was released on 10 percent of a $5,000 cash bond.
Angie Nally, DePauw University Director of Public Safety, told the BannerGraphic that Lopez has not currently been suspended, but will face an internal review process for violations of the student code of conduct. The outcome of such proceedings is not a matter of public record.