MUNCY - Intensive detective work by members of the Muncy Police Department have helped crack a ring of suspected thieves, who are accused of stealing more than $11,500 worth of merchandise from three stores during their three-month crime spree. To crack the case, officers cross-referenced security tapes, transaction documents and inventory reports from multiple area stores.
Suspected in the conspiracy are Cody James Kyle, last known address 2825 Northway Road, Loyalsock Township; Jennifer K. Michael, last known address 922 Race St., Williamsport; Theresa Rose Bayait, last known address 326 Bridge St. Apt. 8, Williamsport; Tammy Beamer, 1521 Mount Carmel St., Williamsport; Shelli L. Barner, last known address 301 Hastings St., Williamsport; James D. Katherman Jr., last known address 611 Reily Street, Harrisburg; Benjamin Scott Baker, 2936 Bon Lane, Loyalsock Township; and Timothy J. Cannon, 440 Germania St., Williamsport.
As of today, felony charges of retail theft, receiving stolen property, and conspiracy to commit retail theft have been filed against Kyle and Michael. According to court officials, charges will be filed against the rest of the suspected conspirators.
The investigation began on Nov. 7, when members of the Sam's Club loss prevention team alerted officer Christopher McKibben that numerous DVDs and Blu-ray discs had come up missing during an inventory check. While reviewing the store's security footage, McKibben saw two women, later identified as Michael and Bayait, enter the store on Nov. 3. According to court records, the two proceeded directly to the movie section of the store. There, they allegedly grabbed four discs from the display and continued quickly down the isle. The pair turned a corner and allegedly concealed the discs somewhere on themselves before returning to the front of the store and out into the parking lot, where they entered a vehicle and drove off. The entire operation took the pair less than five minutes, according to the affidavit.
The thefts continued.
On Jan. 20, Kyle and Seese were apprehended by state police for retail theft at Best Buy. The arrest resulted in Kyle being identified in numerous other thefts from Best Buy, Target and Sam's Club, according to police.
Transaction records from FYE in the Lycoming Mall revealed that the team had been selling the stolen DVDs and discs to FYE and obtaining cash for the transactions, according to court records.
Police continued their investigation, as the reports of theft kept piling up.
On May 12, Michael was brought in for questioning. She allegedly confessed to her involvement in the "theft ring," and explained that the group would steal DVDs and Blu-ray discs from various stores in the Williamsport and Selinsgrove areas, then sell their loot to FYE in the Lycoming Mall and Selinsgrove, according to court records. The group would use the profits to purchase heroin, according to police.
"Most of the individuals lived at the same residence ... they would supply the lessee with heroin as payment for staying there," McKibben stated in the affidavit.
Kyle and Michael both were arraigned before District Judge Jon E. Kemp on June 14. Both are jailed in lieu of $20,000 bail. Their preliminary hearing, which also will be held before Kemp, is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. on June 29.