A Florida woman sentenced in March to two years on probation in Broward County, Florida, on a charge of third-degree grand theft is now facing 16 felony charges after she cashed stolen checks in Davenport and Bettendorf, police said.
Elizabeth Ann Shamel, 37, who gave Bettendorf and Davenport police home addresses in Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach, Florida, is charged by Bettendorf police with four counts of forgery, one count of second-degree theft, one count of identity theft and one count of conspiracy.
Davenport police have charged Shamel with six counts of forgery and three counts of second-degree theft.
According to the arrest affidavit filed by Bettendorf Police Sgt. Brad Levetzow, Shamel admitted that she and her boyfriend, Marcus Levon Felder, 27, are part of a group that is in the Quad-Cities committing the thefts.
Felder is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a non-forcible felony.
All of the charges are Class D felonies that carry a prison sentence of up to five years.
Bettendorf Police Capt. Keith Kimball said that, “We have had several of these groups come here and do this. They stake out fitness centers, daycare centers and the like. They target females who are leaving their purses in their cars or in their lockers. What they want is to get the woman’s identification and debit cards and check books so they can go around to different banks and cash checks and since they have an ID it all looks legitimate.”
According to the arrest affidavits filed by Davenport Police Detective Errol Walker, on Saturday, Shamel went to three different I.H. Mississippi Valley Credit Union locations to cash stolen checks made out for more than $2,000. At 11:50 a.m., she cashed a check at the I. H. Mississippi Valley Credit Union, 2839 AAA Ct., Bettendorf. At 12:28 p.m., she cashed a stolen check at the branch at 2102 E. Kimberly Road in Davenport. Then, at 1:23 p.m., she cashed a check at the credit union branch at 3646 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport.
According to Levetzow’s affidavit, two Davenport women reported to Davenport police on Saturday that their purses were stolen from their vehicles.
On Monday, Shamel cashed three stolen and forged checks totaling $6,470 at the Ascentra Credit unions at 2339 53rd Ave., and 1710 Grant St., in Bettendorf, and 1515 W. 53rd St., Davenport.
Then, Tuesday morning, Shamel tried to cash another forged check at the Ascentra in Moline, but the credit union had a security alert on the checks and names, and Shamel fled.
Kimball said that Bettendorf officers were able to locate the car Shamel was driving and in which Felder was a passenger. They pursued the car into Moline where officers were able to stop the car by a car dealership near SouthPark Mall.
Felder tried to flee on foot but was quickly taken into custody.
The vehicle Shamel was driving had a rear Florida license plate covered by a stolen Iowa license plate.
Officers seized from the vehicle checks that had been stolen in Waukee, Iowa, and Memphis, Tennessee, as well as $2,791 in cash.
They were taken to the Rock Island County Jail. They waived extradition and were placed in the Scott County Jail on Wednesday. Shamel’s bonds total $50,000 cash-only, while Felder’s bond is set at $10,000 cash-only.
According to Broward County, Florida, court records, Shamel pleaded guilty to a charge of grand theft third-degree on March 1 and was sentenced to two years on probation.
On March 14, she pleaded guilty to a charge of grand theft in Palm Beach County, Florida, and was sentenced to eight days in jail.
Felder has convictions for burglary, grand theft third-degree and assault on a law enforcement officer in Broward County. He also has pending cases of burglary and strong armed robbery in Broward County and burglary, eluding and grand theft in Palm Beach County.