Duo sentenced in string of Alabaster identity thefts
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
COLUMBIANA – A pair of California residents will be on supervised probation for the next half-decade after they pleaded guilty to using stolen identities to purchase items from an Alabaster shopping center.
Timothy Ray Hamilton, 21, and 20-year-old Donrell Laron Morris each pleaded guilty to two felony counts of identity theft during July 22 and July 23 hearings, respectively, at the Shelby County Courthouse.
The Alabaster Police Department arrested 32-year-old Desmond Todd Gardner, Hamilton and Morris in Alabaster’s South Promenade on May 1 and charged them with several felony counts.
The arrests came as the result of an ongoing investigation by the Alabaster Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division, and after the suspects were spotted inside the Alabaster Target store.
At the time the three suspects were arrested, the Alabaster police said the trio likely was operating from the Montgomery area, and was working along the Interstate 65 corridor.
Gardner and Hamilton allegedly were in possession of a small amount of marijuana when they were arrested. Morris tried to flee officers at the Target store, and was apprehended in the area behind the Best Buy store a short time later, according to Alabaster police.
Gardner and Hamilton list the same address on Burbank Boulevard in Woodland Hills, Calif., and Morris lists an address on Abourne Road in Los Angeles.
As a result of their guilty pleas, Morris and Hamilton will spend the next five years on supervised probation, and must pay $530 apiece in restitution. Their remaining charges were dropped through a plea agreement.
Hamilton originally was facing the two felony identity theft charges, three felony counts of fraudulent use of a credit or debit card, one felony count of second-degree forgery and one misdemeanor count of unlawful possession of marijuana.
Morris originally was charged with two felony identity theft charges, three felony counts of fraudulent use of a credit or debit card, one felony count of second-degree forgery, one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest and one misdemeanor count of attempting to elude law enforcement.
Gardner is facing two felony charges of identity theft, three felony counts of fraudulent use of a credit or debit card and one misdemeanor count of unlawful possession of marijuana.
As of July 27, Gardner was being held in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $180,000, and was scheduled to appear in Shelby County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 23 at 8:30 a.m.
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