Man goes on shopping spree after stealing credit card, among other valuable items


Christine Holmes

Matthew McElroy sits alongside his attorney, Clay Johnson, as the two listen to the prosecutor read the facts of the cases.

By Jessica Johnston, Assistant News Director

After stealing a credit card one day and a company truck another day, a 33 year-old man’s crimes were all caught on camera as he went shopping and took his newly acquired truck for a bath.

Pleading guilty to 15 charges Wednesday morning, Matthew McElroy appeared in court for two separate cases.

On March 17, a man who worked in the oil pipeline field was dining at Rooster’s with his girlfriend when the defendant broke into the man’s truck and stole his wallet, credit card and thousands of dollars worth of oil pipe fittings, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John Litle said in court.

After stealing the credit card, McElroy went to a gas station, McDonald’s and Walmart where he made purchases using the stolen property. He attempted to use the card at a fourth establishment, but it was declined, Litle said.

During his trip to Walmart, McElroy, who was accompanied by a woman, purchased two phones that the woman put in her name.

“Which was not a criminally genius idea,” Litle said of the woman’s choice to sign her name to the devices.

All of the transactions at the various establishments were recorded on camera.

As police were looking for McElroy, officers went to a home on Mead Street where a couple that had accompanied McElroy to the gas station lived. The woman who lived in the home told officers she found it odd that McElroy paid with a credit card for propane at the gas station as she thought he was homeless — she stated he was living in the couple’s garage.

McElroy had also went into the couple’s house to show them the oil pipe fittings he had taken from the truck.

Just two weeks later, McElroy was involved in stealing a company truck from City Electric Services.

McElroy and his co-defendant in that case, a man that Litle said is well known at the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office, stole the truck, which had the company’s logo on it, and took it to a car wash.

Next to where the truck had been parked were tire marks from the tread of a bicycle.

Along with the truck was over $11,000 worth of tools enclosed in the truck that the men put into trash cans at the car wash and later drug away from the establishment.

The truck was found on Water Street in Duncan Falls with no tools around.

Again, all of McElroy’s actions were caught on video at the establishments.

Authorities later encountered McElroy on Ridge Avenue riding a bike. According to the prosecutor’s summary of the incident, which was read in court, the tread on the bike McElroy was riding matched the tread found at City Electric Services where the truck was stolen.

Officers also found .24 grams of heroin on McElroy upon searching him.

Wednesday morning, McElroy pleaded guilty to the following counts pertaining to the March 17 incident:

  • One count of theft — fifth-degree felony
  • One count of theft of a credit card — fifth-degree felony
  • One count of identity fraud — fifth-degree felony
  • Five counts of misuse of a credit card — first-degree misdemeanors

Additionally, he also pleaded guilty to the following counts pertaining to the April 1 incident:

  • One count of receiving stolen property (motor vehicle) — fourth-degree felony
  • One count of receiving stolen property (between $7,500 and $150,000) — fourth-degree felony
  • One count of breaking and entering — fifth-degree felony
  • One count of theft (less than $1,000) — first-degree misdemeanor
  • One count of possession of drugs (heroin) — fifth-degree felony
  • One count of possession of drug abuse instruments — second-degree misdemeanor

McElroy’s bond was continued pending sentencing.