Movie theater "crawler" convicted in Conn. credit card theft

Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich, Conn. is one of several movie theaters in Fairfield County where identity thieves stole film-goers' credit cards.

(CBS) HARTFORD - A Connecticut man has been convicted in an identity theft ring that involved crawling across movie theater floors to rob customers of their credit cards, reports.

Anthony Johnson, 49, would use the credit cards to then buy merchandise including iPods, cellphones, designer sunglasses and $1,000 gift cards which he in turn sold at a discount.

A U.S. District Court jury convicted Johnston Monday on seven charges of using a stolen credit card and two charges of identity theft. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each property theft count and a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence on each of the identity theft charges.

He will be sentenced on January 14.

According to, Johnson is formerly from Philadelphia, where he was known on the streets as "Hustlin' Tone." The paper also reports that last week two accomplices in the scheme, Jamie Lynn McGowan and Lashirelle Bryant, testified against him in court.

McGowan described Johnson as slithering "like a snake" across movie theater floors before reaching inside partially opened purses and stealing credit cards. Then, he testified, they would leave the theater in their rented van and create an identity card using the victim's name and McGowan's photograph. McGowan would then go on a spending spree to buy items to sell at a discounted price.

"A good weekend was $50,000 to $70,000," McGowan told the jury. "Thirty (thousand) to $40,000 was a bad weekend."

McGowan added the trio primarily preyed on people at movies such as "Eat, Pray, Love," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button;" and "Twilight Eclipse" because "there'd be a lot of white women there ... He said these were million-dollar movies."

The thefts occurred in movie theaters in Fairfield County in southern Connecticut.

Both accomplices pleaded guilty to one count each of using a stolen credit card and aggravated identity theft.

"This was not the outcome that Mr. Johnson hoped for," said Frank Riccio II, his court-appointed lawyer. "None of the victims who testified could identify Mr. Johnson as the thief. His accomplices did identify him, but they were motivated by their cooperation agreement with the government," he told Greenwichtime.copm

Riccio says that Johnson intends to appeal the conviction.