For Oscar Edward Alayo, the third time was the charm. Both times he was scheduled to appear in General District Court, Jan. 5 and Jan. 22 — to answer to a charge of credit-card theft — he didn't show.
BUT HE FINALLY appeared last Wednesday, Feb. 28, and now an amended charge of grand larceny will go to a Fairfax County grand jury.
In September 2006, a woman's wallet was taken from her purse while she grocery shopped at a local store. And in October, police arrested Alayo and a woman, both of 14401 Four Chimney Drive in Centreville's Newgate community, in connection with the crime.
Det. Elizabeth Cummings, who specializes in financial crimes, explained the details of the case against them in an Oct. 23, 2006 affidavit for a warrant to search their townhouse.
She wrote that, on Sept. 7, a county resident reported the theft of her wallet from her purse while she was in the Giant Food store on Stone Road in Centreville. The wallet contained credit cards in her name, cash, $20 gift cards for Target and Starbucks, her driver's license and personal checks.
The woman told police her wallet was stolen while she was at the store's pharmacy counter and her purse was left unattended in her cart. And the store's surveillance video from that day showed a man reaching into the purse and removing the wallet.
"A SHORT TIME later, the victim's Chase Visa credit card was fraudulently used for purchases totaling over $200," wrote Cummings. She stated that one of the transactions was made at the Shopper's Food Warehouse in Centreville.
An investigation ensued and, according to Cummings, two other police officers allegedly "positively identified" Alayo as the man in the video seen swiping the woman's wallet. The detective further noted that Alayo has prior felony and misdemeanor convictions from three states for charges including: Forging public records, assault and battery, obstructing justice and conspiracy/fencing (stolen goods).
On Jan. 22 in General District Court, the case against the woman who lives with Alayo was dropped, but Alayo's case was continued until Feb. 28. At that time, he appeared before Judge Michael Cassidy, and his charge of credit-card theft was amended to grand larceny. Cassidy then certified the case to the grand jury for possible indictment.