BENNINGTON — A local couple, now swimming in felony charges, allegedly defrauded someone by making purchases at several businesses in Bennington. The man begged police officers to put the blame on him and not to charge his girlfriend.
Joseph Hewson III, 30, and Rosemarie Packard, 38, from Bennington have been charged with several crimes related to stolen credit cards. The pair “live together and are a couple,” according to court documents.
According to the investigation, on July 15, a man noticed that his wallet was missing and alerted police. He realized the wallet probably fell out of his pants pocket and into the trailer that was attached to his truck. According to court documents, the man also discovered that his cards were used several times without his permission.
The first card had $900.97 worth of unauthorized charges from Stewart’s, Lucky Dragon and other establishments. The second card had $331.15 worth of unauthorized payments from Yott’s Market and McDonalds.
Throughout the Bennington Police Department’s investigation, officers discovered several videos and photos from the stores where the stolen cards were used. The security footage allegedly shows Hewson and Packard using the cards.
The couple purchased gas, cigarettes, toys and a variety of food items. Two other transactions, that were denied, were cash transfers of $500 and $200 to an account in Packard’s name.
Out of the 21 successful transactions, four stores confirmed who made the purchases based on video and photographic evidence. The three transactions at Stewart’s were made by Packard, five transactions made at Bashara’s were by Hewson, and one purchase at North Bennington Variety and two transactions at Price Chopper showed both of them to be present, according to the investigation.
Once the evidence was gathered, the police spoke to the couple and asked them to come down to the police station. Hewson asked, “Are we going to jail today?” The officer told him they were only receiving a citation, and the couple came to the station shortly after.
Before either of them could be interviewed, Hewson took the blame and said, “Do not charge [Packard] for it. I had her go in the store for me … I did it, it was all me. I’ll take the blame for all of it.”
Hewson allegedly admitted to using the stolen cards and said he sent Packard into Stewart’s because he has a trespass notice for that location.
When Packard was asked what happened, she said, “You know he has a drug habit. So, he was like screaming at me. I figured, if I just went and did it, he would leave me alone.”
Hewson has a criminal history in Vermont that includes petit larceny, heroin possession, retail theft and more. For this incident, he was charged with two felony counts of identity theft.
Packard does not have a prior criminal history in Vermont. She was charged with two misdemeanors of petit larceny and credit card fraud. She was also charged with three felony counts of identity theft, conspiracy to receive stolen property and false pretenses.
They both pleaded not guilty to their charges at their arraignments on Monday in Bennington Superior Court. The hearings were overseen by Judge Cortland Corsones. They were let out on standard conditions of release.