Craig couple charged in bank card, identity theft scheme
A Craig couple is facing a number of felony charges related to the alleged theft of several debit and credit cards.
Ronald Martin Chovanec, 29, was arrested on felony charges of second degree burglary, identity theft, criminal possession of a financial device and misdemeanor charges of unauthorized use of a financial transaction device and theft.
Mikayla Diane Hoppe, 25, was arrested on the same charges, plus a charge of felony tampering with physical evidence.
According to an arrest affidavit compiled by Craig Police Department Officer Jeffrey Bond, agency personnel responded to a home in Craig on Sunday, Aug. 25, to find the victim, who told police they suspected Chovanec and Hoppe had taken several credit/debit cards and their ID.
Chovanec and Hoppe were allegedly living with the victim in March as Hoppe is related to the victim, but both “were asked to leave because of drug use and stealing items” from the victim, the affidavit said.
The victim told police a family member was at their home when Chovanec and Hoppe “had come to the residence and were using the shower,” without their permission, according to the affidavit.
It was after this visit that the victim’s debit/credit cards and ID turned up missing.
The next morning, at about 10 a.m. Aug. 26, police responded to the Super 8 Motel in Craig after the victim advised officers his stolen debit/credit card had been used twice, once at a local pizza restaurant and another at the lodging establishment.
“After realizing his stolen credit card was being used at this motel, (the victim) went to the motel and called the police,” the affidavit said.
Police said they viewed the victim’s bank statements, which showed charges totaling $76.
Police then interviewed a hotel employee who was working the night before and told police they helped a couple, matching Chovanec’s and Hoppe’s descriptions, check in the night before.
“Upon check-in, he provided a Colorado ID card identifying himself as Ronald Chovanec,” police said in the affidavit.
Police said they went to the hotel room in question, and though they did not enter, employees found pizza boxes inside the room and brought them to police.
The affidavit says police waited for the hotel’s checkout time of 11 a.m. at which time housekeeping would begin cleaning rooms and logging any found property.
Shortly after, they received a call from the motel that employees had cleaned the room, finding both illegal substances and credit cards. Officers confirmed the missing cards belonged to the victim, and they also found several other financial devices with other people’s names on them.
Police then turned their attention to the room Chovanec and Hoppe had allegedly rented finding assorted crushed pills, more than two dozen syringes, a checkbook and a credit card, both of which had someone else’s name on them.
Police said they also found Chovanec’s wallet with his ID and a counterfeit $100 bill inside.
About an hour after police cleared the hotel room, dispatch received a call about a physical fight possibly involving Chovanec.
At least one witness to the altercation said Hoppe tried to discard the victim’s credit card once it was clear police were coming down the street, allegedly throwing the card beneath a vehicle.
Police reported later find a Super 8 room key on Hoppe.
Police said they attempted to interview both Chovanec and Hoppe, but they declined after being mirandized.