MANCHESTER – A New Ipswich man is under arrest, accused of stealing purses belonging to an employee at Chuck E. Cheese and a customer shopping at Market Basket.
Jonathan Fuller, 28, of 174 Toby Highway, also is accused of using one of the women's credit cards to buy a $129 tablet at Walmart.
The thefts happened about 90 minutes apart Wednesday.
A 60-year-old woman employed at Chuck E. Cheese, 1525 S. Willow St., called police about 4 p.m. to report a tote bag containing her purse was taken from behind the counter when she was distracted by customers.
She called her bank to cancel her credit card and learned that just minutes after the theft, her card was used to buy the tablet at Walmart, 300 Keller St.
The arcade's video surveillance system recorded the man leaving with her purse. Officer Peter Flanagan followed up with Walmart where store surveillance recorded the same man buying the tablet using the woman's credit card.
About 3 ½ hours later, at 7:30 p.m., a 55-year-old woman reported her purse was stolen from a cart while she was shopping at Market Basket, 400 Elm St. Again, video surveillance recorded the same man inside the store at the time of the theft and recorded him leaving in a car.
About 10 p.m. a patrol officer spotted the car near Weston Road and South Willow Street. An officer later located it in the parking lot at Walmart.
Police arrested Fuller inside the store on unrelated theft warrants. He had several credit cards belonging to the Market Basket customer on him when he was arrested, police said.
The purse belonging to the Chuck E. Cheese employee also was found in the trunk of his car, according to investigators.
Fuller was charged with one count of fraudulent use of a credit card and two counts of theft, both felonies, based on his past theft convictions, police said.
At his arraignment Thursday in 9th Circuit Court, Manchester District Division, a police prosecutor sought $5,000 cash/surety bail, noting Fuller has convictions for six counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, receiving stolen property and drug possession. He is also currently on probation.
Fuller asked Judge William Lyons for personal recognizance bail. "Right now it's tough," he said. "I have a family to support." He also said he always shows up for court.
Lyons said bail is not only to assure someone will show up in court, but also to protect the public. He reduced the bail amount to $4,000 cash/surety.
A probable cause hearing on the felony charges was set for Dec. 5 and trial on the misdemeanor was set for Dec. 18.