Ex-restaurant owner jailed on ID theft charges - East Valley Tribune: News

Ex-restaurant owner jailed on ID theft charges

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Posted: Friday, December 18, 2009 5:22 pm | Updated: 2:34 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

The former owner of a Chandler restaurant returned to town Thursday with a police escort and was jailed after evading authorities for months.

The former owner of a Chandler restaurant returned to town Thursday with a police escort and was jailed after evading authorities for months.

Andrew Paparella, 36, was booked on 20 counts associated with identity theft. Chandler police accuse him of obtaining credit card numbers from customers of the defunct Citrus Cafe, a French bistro at Alma School and Warner roads, and using them to buy electronics and sports equipment and then re-selling them on eBay, according to a search warrant affidavit.

He was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Sgt. Joe Favazzo, Chandler police spokesman, said Paparella fled town in July, knowing police were investigating him for "thousands and thousands" of dollars of fraudulent purchases made with stolen credit card numbers.

A grand jury indicted Paparella on Oct. 15 and authorities in San Antonio arrested him five days later.

A Texas judge freed him on $75,000 bail.

A governor's warrant from Arizona was issued Nov. 20, but Paparella evaded Texas authorities until Dec. 8.

According to a search warrant affidavit, investigators got wind of Paparella when a masseuse called in March to report that Paparella used a stolen credit number to book an appointment online.

The masseuse knew Paparella because he had used a stolen credit card number to pay for a previous massage, the warrant states.

When police searched his home, they found an abundance of video games and golf equipment.

Paparella was arrested March 31 and released the next day. He admitted to the thefts, but he told police he was working with an accomplice.

Police don't believe he had a partner and think that the crimes date back to early 2008, the warrant states.

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