An alleged credit card thief’s mom led police “right to him” Tuesday evening, police said.
James Barton, 23, of Cincinnati, was arrested in Westwood after police followed his mother and a Crimestoppers tip.
Barton had been traveling up and down the Interstate 75 corridor targeting credit cards from unattended purses in hospitals and doctor’s offices, police said.
Police believe Barton is responsible for swiping credit cards from numerous hospitals and medical facilities and then using them to buy electronics at nearby stores.
Sgt. Eric Vogelpohl of the Cincinnati Police Department said the department received a tip through Crimestoppers and began following Barton’s mom around 4:30 p.m.
“She led us right to him,” he said. “She didn’t know. We followed her for a couple hours.”
“She told us after the fact that he had called her and wanted a ride to a hotel. I think she got lost because she passed it up a couple of times. She threw us off for a while,” he said.
The mother was released at the scene and won’t be charged, according to Vogelpohl.
Investigators believe Barton is responsible for thefts in Oxford, West Chester Twp., Mason, Wilmington and Kettering. Shortly after the cards were stolen, purchases were made at big-box stores near the sites of the thefts, police said.
Sgt. Brandon Lacy with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office said purchases made with the stolen cards were for iPads and GPS units that investigators believe were sold for drugs or cash to buy drugs. Police estimated he spent roughly $1,800 on his Warren County purchases.
Lacy said Barton allegedly stole from numerous medical offices and hospitals, including Children’s Hospital in Butler County and Clinton Memorial Hospital in Wilmington.
“We have filed charges through Lebanon (municipal) court but it will eventually get bound over to our common pleas court,” he said. “There are a bunch of holders that have been sent to Hamilton County from the other jurisdictions.”
Barton was charged with receiving stolen property, forgery and misuse of a credit card. Last week, detectives arrested Travis Johnson, 32, of Cincinnati, for two counts of complicity. Investigators believe he was driving Barton in a recent Mason area theft.
Warren County detectives recognized a photo taken from a surveillance video on a Dayton television website and realized Barton was the suspect in a Kettering theft.
Detectives believe Barton was selling the items in Hamilton County. Police in Hamilton County are working to track down any of Barton’s accomplices.
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said in cases like this where allegations stem from multiple jurisdictions, usually the police and prosecutors get together to decide how to proceed with the case.
Staff writer Lauren Pack contributed to this story.