Newport News men admit guilt to credit card larceny in New Kent
Two Newport News men entered guilty pleas to credit card larceny as part of a plea agreement reached Monday morning in New Kent Circuit Court.
Rashawn Marquis Chapman, 30, of the 800 block of Chopin Wood Drive, and Robert James Bethel Jr., 30, of the 100 block of View Point Drive, both admitted guilt to one count each of credit card larceny and misdemeanor possession of marijuana (second offense). Bethel also entered guilty pleas to one count each of possession of a credit card forgery device and misdemeanor violation of pretrial services as part of his agreement.
In a summary of evidence provided by Commonwealth’s Attorney Linwood Gregory, on Feb. 27 around 12:45 p.m., a state trooper observed a vehicle traveling westbound on Interstate 64 at 84 miles per hour as it entered New Kent County. The trooper noticed dark tint and a damage windshield and proceeded to follow the vehicle. After noting the additional high speed and the vehicle following too close behind a tractor-trailer, the officer conducted a traffic stop. The trooper detected a strong scent of marijuana and asked the driver, identified as Chapman, to step out the vehicle. After reading Chapman his Miranda Rights, he admitted to smoking marijuana before departing Newport News. However, a search of Chapman resulted in the discovery of a small plastic bag with a credit card inside. Chapman claimed that the credit card was his girlfriend’s, but when asked by the trooper her name, he declined to answer. He was later arrested on the two charges.
One of the passengers, identified as Bethel, was also removed from the vehicle and questioned about the marijuana. Bethel admitted that marijuana on the floorboard in the back seat belonged to him. As the officer conducted a search of the defendant, he recovered credit cards that belonged to him and another person. Further investigation revealed that Bethel handed another passenger a small machine that had capabilities of stripping magnetic information off one credit card and placing it onto another. The trooper took all the credit cards recovered and with the assistance of a credit card reader provided by New Kent Sheriff’s Office, discovered that identifying information on the front of the credit cards were bogus and did not match information found on the magnetic strip.
Under the plea agreement, Chapman received a five-year sentence with all but three months suspended on the credit card larceny charge. All 12 months on the misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge were suspended.
Bethel had all five years suspended on the credit card larceny and possession of credit card forgery device charge suspended, as well as all 12 months on the misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge. However, the defendant must serve 30 days in jail as the result of violating conditions of pretrial supervision.