In the early morning hours of Saturday, October 14, 2017, Pearl River Police Officers responded to a call at Waffle House of two subjects that had left without paying their $7.00 bill and had fled in a U-Haul van. The van was located and Richard A. Brown, a resident of Indiana, fled on foot. Stayshawn D. Stephens, driver of the van and a resident of California, was apprehended. With the assistance of K-9 Scout, Brown was located in a wooded area near I-59 and apprehended.
Officers found and seized several fake identification cards, counterfeit credit cards and credit card skimming devices, as well as a Waffle House receipt for $7.41.
The investigation uncovered an interstate criminal organization involved in a highly sophisticated identity theft scheme operating out of Los Angeles, California. Stephens and Brown had flown into New Orleans and are alleged to have driven to various gas stations and illicitly installed credit card skimming devices in the gas pumps.
Brown and Stephens were booked on numerous charges. This is still an ongoing investigation, and the Pearl River Police Department is currently working with the U.S. Secret Service Financial Crimes Taskforce and other local agencies.
Pearl River Police Chief “JJ” Jennings said, “Let this be a lesson on etiquette as well; pay your bill and tip your waitress.”