GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 19, 2012

Man charged in $13K theft on credit card

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — Police arrested a 44-year-old Beverly man on charges of larceny, identity fraud and forgery, after the man used a company charge account from a local gas company where he formerly worked to buy more than $13,500 in copper at the Building Center stores over several months.

After David J. Curran was arrested, police said, the suspect told investigating officers he had made at least 13 charges on Matheson Tri-Gas Inc.’s Building Center credit charge account since February, when he was laid off from the company.

According to the police report, Curran told investigators he had used the charge account to purchase copper flashing, which frequently is used in roof repair, and that he then sold the material for cash in Lowell. Curran told police he was using the money to pay his rent, bills and to pay for his enrollment in heating, ventilation and air conditioning school programs.

Matheson Tri-Gas Inc. had originally pinned 22 transactions for a total of $13,845.37 on Curran, according to the police report. But, police dropped nine of those bills, totaling $255.06, after Curran disputed those nine credit charges, according to the report.

“David stated that he felt bad and remorseful about what he had done and he is hoping to make good on these monies,” the police report said. Curran has already paid $3,000 of his $13,590 debt, police said.

Police said Curran also admitted to signing the charge bills with two other company employee’s names and a third made up name.

Gloucester Detective Tom Quinn, who led the investigation, first received a report of fraudulent transactions from Matheson Tri-Gas Inc. on Nov. 9, according to the report. Police knew from receipts and from speaking with Building Center store managers that Curran, a roofer by trade, was using the gas company’s charge account to buy copper in the contractor area of the stores.

When asked about a customer buying copper flashing on Matheson Tri-Gas Inc. charge credit, employees at both the Gloucester and Essex Building Center stores provided descriptions of Curran, a black man with a visible indent on the back of his bald head, according to police.

“He came in so often that they never suspected anything (amiss),” the police report said.

Detective Quinn, after finding that Curran frequented the Essex store location recently, instructed an Essex store employee to allow Curran to complete a transaction during his next visit, then call Essex police immediately to report the incident.

Police said that the next day — on Friday about 9:30 a.m. — Curran went into the Essex store and bought $1,412.64 in copper flashing, charging the bill to Matheson Tri-Gas Inc.

The employee called Essex Police and Detective Ryan Davis and Officer Rob Gilardi, already briefed on the investigation by Gloucester police, arrested Curran at the store.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.