WASHINGTON PARK — Three people who police say are responsible for more than $12,000 worth of fraudulent charges on a company gas fleet charge card have been charged.
James T. Papproth, 24, of Belleville, Justin A. Hooker of Belleville and Erin Smith, of Millstadt, were charged with by the St. Clair County State's Attorney's office Thursday with unlawful use of a credit card. Bail for Papproth was set at $75,000. Hooker's and Smith's bail was set at $30,000. Smith is the only one who is not in jail as yet.
The thefts in Washington Park occurred over a three-day period from Sunday through Tuesday.
Police Chief Dave Clark said the trio had been hitting gas stations in Washington Park, Caseyville, St. Clair County, Collinsville, East St. Louis, Cahokia and St. Louis with a fleet gas card belonging to Romero's Outdoor Services. A company official reported the card stolen.
"He said someone was using one of his gas credit cards," Clark said. The suspects would fill up customers' cars with the card in exchange for cash paid to them by the customers.
There were at least 40 charges totaling more than $12,000 charged to the card, Clark said.
One of the suspects, Papproth, is a former employee with Romero's, Clark said.
Clark said while police were at the Mobile Gas Mart, located at 1441 Kingshighway, on Thursday night reviewing surveillance video, one of the suspects showed up to conduct his usual business.
As police approached him, he jumped into a green Ford Explorer and took off. Police located the vehicle a short time later with the three suspects inside.
Anyone with information on Smith's whereabouts is asked to call the Washington Park Police Department at 874-0115, CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS, or your local police department.
Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.