Here’s an update from Columbia Township Police Chief David Elwell on an earlier report of the theft of a credit card at Vineyard Lake on August 3rd and how it was subsequently used.  Police used surveillance video and other means to shed light on the case.  Below, Chief Elwell tells the story of how this investigation unfolded:

Columbia Township Chief of Police David Elwell

Columbia Township Police Chief David Elwell

As previously reported, the victim reported the theft of the credit card from his vehicle while he was on Vineyard Lake on August 3, 2016, sometime after 11:00 A.M.  His vehicle had been parked near the boat launch at the County Park off North Drive.

The suspect began using the credit card almost immediately, first at two businesses in Brooklyn at approximately 3:30 P.M., and then at a number of other businesses in surrounding areas in Jackson County.  The card was additionally used on August 3rd at a hotel in Bellevue, MI.

Shortly after the initial press release, which included suspect and vehicle photos and descriptions, several calls were received which identified the suspect as Robert Biggs Norman, 11-1-75.  The vehicle being driven at the time was a dark colored 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer.

Columbia Township Police furthered the investigation by contacting each of the retailers where the stolen credit card had been used, and obtained additional surveillance footage and evidence.  Additionally, a search warrant was obtained for records.

After the suspect was identified, it was determined there was an outstanding arrest warrant for Robert Biggs Norman III, 11-1-75, out of Indiana for probation violation.

Through the investigation, Columbia Township was able to learn that Norman was at a location near Champaign Illinois. Columbia Township then made contact with deputies from the Champaign County Illinois Sheriff’s Department, who were able to locate and arrest Norman on the outstanding warrant from Indiana.

Deputies continued their investigation, and were able to locate the 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer, which was reported to be a stolen vehicle, as well as two stolen handguns and a stolen credit card.  Charges related to those issues are pending in Champaign County Illinois.

The investigation into the original theft and use of the cards in Columbia Township is being wrapped up, and will be forwarded to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office for review of criminal charges.  The Champaign County Sheriff’s Department should be commended for their fast and thorough work.  This case is an example of agencies working across jurisdictional (and State) lines to bring closure for the victims on these cases.