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MERCER CO. Judge convicts calling-card thief



Published: Wed, May 30, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Authorities said the man used other people's phone cards to make more than $4,100 in calls.

By VIRGINIA ROSS

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

MERCER, Pa. -- An area man charged with illegally using two calling cards to make long-distance calls said he had permission from the card owners to use them.

The judge hearing the case, however, didn't believe him.

Judge Thomas Dobson of Mercer County Common Pleas Court sentenced Dennison Wheeler, 31, Franklin Road, Jackson Center, to an 18-month probation.

Authorities said Wheeler used calling cards belonging to two area individuals to make more than $4,100 in long-distance phone calls last year between July 26 and Oct. 25. They said Wheeler used one card issued to a local man between July 26-31 to make $1,585 in calls.

Police said Wheeler made those calls from his Pine Township apartment.

They said by using a card belonging to a local woman, Wheeler racked up $2,594 in long-distance calls between Sept. 11 and Oct. 25. They said those calls were made from a McConnell Street residence in Grove City.

Wheeler was originally charged with theft by deception, theft of services and illegal access to devices. April 9, however, he pleaded guilty to theft by deception. In exchange for that plea, the remaining charges were dismissed by the county district attorney's office.

Bad checks: Judge Dobson also ordered a Rossiter, Pa., woman to serve two years' probation after she admitted writing three bad checks in February.

Wendy J. Pearce, 31, Hemlock Lake Road, said she made a bad move when she attempted to use the checks to buy items at an area store.

She said the checks were from an account she shared with an elderly man whom she had previously cared for. She said she did not know the account had been closed.

The checks -- which totaled $196, $635 and $190 -- were not honored at the Indiana, Pa., bank where the checking account had been issued.

Pearce was originally charged with writing bad checks and theft by deception. April 10, she pleaded guilty to writing bad checks, and, in exchange for that plea, the district attorney's office agreed to dismiss the theft by deception charge.




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