Golf caddy arrested in theft of Mesa teachers' credit cards - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

Golf caddy arrested in theft of Mesa teachers' credit cards

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Posted: Friday, February 24, 2012 5:12 pm

A golf caddy accused of entering Mesa elementary schools and stealing credit cards out of teachers’ purses, was arrested by Mesa police after a series of witnesses identified him and officers located him incarcerated in a Maricopa County jail on an unrelated matter.

Nowell Whitehouse, 31, who already was in jail on a trespassing case in Scottsdale, was arrested by Mesa police earlier this week and re-booked into the jail on suspicion of credit card theft for the alleged offenses.

Whitehouse is from Arkansas, where he worked as a golf caddy. He had been staying at a Scottsdale hotel, where he was paid up until April before his arrest, according to Mesa police Sgt. Ed Wessing.

Whitehouse was identified by local witnesses from a photograph and video surveillance footage where he was making purchases with the stolen cards, according to police.

He also is a suspect in similar recent credit card thefts at schools in Vilonia, Ark.

It wasn’t known how long Whitehouse had been staying at the hotel in Scottsdale, but police found receipts in his room from purchases he made with various teachers’ stolen credit cards.

Whitehouse is accused of entering Mesa’s Zaharis Elementary School on Dec. 16, when four of one teacher’s credit cards were stolen out of her purse during recess and were later used to purchase four $500 gift cards, according to police.

Whitehouse made a $1,300 purchase at a pool supply store in Arkansas and paid part of the bill with one of the $500 gift cards he had purchased with the teacher’s stolen credit card, police said.

Whitehouse also is accused of entering Mesa’s Red Mountain Elementary School, on Dec. 16.

The final theft happened at Superstition Springs Elementary School on Jan. 12. Two teachers reported their credit cards stolen after returning from recess.

When Whitehouse was approached by police at the jail, he refused to answer questions and requested an attorney, Wessing said.

Mesa Unified School District officials did not have a comment on Friday as they had just learned about Whitehouse’s arrest, according to Helen Hollands, a district spokeswoman.

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