A 47-year-old wallet-theft suspect is in Broward County jail because he forgot his own wallet at the scene of the crime, say police in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
Stephen Eric Maxwell appeared Monday before Broward Judge John "Jay" Hurley, who got chuckles in the courtroom when he read from the police reports.
"The ID card had the name and photograph of Stephen Maxwell on it," Hurley said. "[Detectives] also looked at the closed circuit TV [recording], which showed you allegedly reaching into her purse and leaving your wallet on the bar."
Maxwell is accused of meeting women in bars and restaurants in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, then stealing wallets from their purses when they were distracted. He used their credit cards or cash to buy cigarettes, alcohol and other items, police said.
On at least three occasions, he also used their cards and cash to make a $1 donation to the American Diabetes Association, the arrest report stated.
It began on Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the 101 Bar and Grill, where he stole a woman's wallet. Within 30 minutes, he was at Walgreen's charging $92.15 on her credit card, the report stated.
About 90 minutes later, Maxwell went to Aruba Beach Cafe and met another woman. He took about $500 in cash and a credit card from her purse before disappearing into the crowd. He ended up back at Walgreen's to buy a $100 mobile phone card, police said.
It caught up with him Saturday. Maxwell was chatting up a woman at the Village Pub. While dancing with someone else, she looked over from the dance floor and saw Maxwell going through her purse, according to police. When she ran over to confront him, he ran out of the bar but left behind his wallet with the picture ID inside.
Hurley ordered Maxwell to be held without bond because of his "ongoing criminal activity" and lack of apprehension about "taking women's purses and wallets."
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