Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Pottsville Fraud Suspects Identified and Arrested

Pottsville Bureau of Police have made two arrests associated with a felony fraud incident that occurred at Aaron’s, 2280 W. Market St on January 3, 2022.
According to Pottsville Police Chief Richard Wojciechowsky, in January, the store managers for Aaron's reported to police that two males had entered the store on January 3rd, 2022 claiming they were there to pick-up two Xbox gaming systems approved for purchase through a prior on-line credit application. 

One male provided personal and biographical information for an unspecified person who claimed to live in the Pottsville area, and they were able to leave the store with the two Xbox gaming systems valued at over $1700. 

Days later, the store managers became aware that all information provided by the men had been fraudulent. 

Further internal investigation by Aaron’s revealed the same two males had also completed a similar transaction at the Coal Township Aaron’s about an hour after the Pottsville transaction, and obtained by fraud two additional gaming systems, a laptop, and a gaming chair valued at over $5000, in the name of a different victim. 

Further investigation showed the pair had attempted additional thefts in the same manner at Aaron’s stores in Bloomsburg, Hazelton, Kingston, and New York, NY.

With help from the public, Pottsville Police were able to identify the vehicle used to transport both suspects and the owner of the vehicle, Reynard Kevon Lewis, 29, of Nanticoke.

In furtherance of the investigation, the Pottsville Police Criminal Investigation Unit obtained search warrants to be served on Lewis’ apartment and vehicle and these searches were conducted January 31, 2022. 

Those search warrants led to the recovery of the clothing worn by Lewis while inside the Pottsville Aaron’s store, the gaming chair obtained from the Coal Township transaction, an abundance of fraudulent credit cards, and equipment including printers, blank ID cards, laminating material and background holograms from nearly every state in the country and Puerto Rico all of which were being used to produce fake identification cards.

On Monday February 7, Lewis was taken into custody by the Nanticoke Police. He was then transported back to Schuylkill County and arraigned by Magisterial District Judge  Reiley who committed him to Schuylkill County Prison in lieu of $75,000 cash bail.  Lewis posted bail through a bondsman the following day, February 8th, 2022.

During the police investigation the identity of the second suspect was confirmed as being Robert Brownstein, 50, with a last known address in Kingston, PA and an arrest warrant was obtained for him as well. 

Brownstein was taken into custody during a traffic stop in Berks County on Tuesday, February 8th and transported back to Schuylkill County for arraignment in front of Magisterial District Judge Tarantelli and remanded to Schuylkill County Prison in lieu of $75000 cash bail.

Both face charges for identity theft, conspiracy to commit identity theft, theft by deception, possessing the instrument of a crime, using an access device issued to another person, receiving stolen property, and other related charges.

Due to the nature of the fraudulent activity uncovered during the searches the Pennsylvania State Office of the Attorney General (OAG) was contacted to assist with the initial arrests and subsequent additional prosecution outside the city.

Photo of Robert Brownstein