A Walmart gift card put investigators on the trail of a man they say broke into 38 vehicles, according to Altoona police.
Richard J. Boggs, 27, of New Castle caught the attention of police after a Walmart gift card stolen out of one of the vehicles was used and traced back to him, Altoona police Detective Cpl. Troy Wright said.
Wright said Boggs sold the card to a local pawn shop, whose owners used it at Walmart. Because the victim had the receipt for the gift card, police were able to trace it and use video surveillance to identify the pawn shop owner. The pawn shop owner in turn provided police with the name of the man who sold them the gift card, Richard Boggs.
Along with the 38 charges related to the theft and attempted thefts from 38 automobiles throughout the city since the beginning of the year, Boggs also faces four burglaries.
Boggs allegedly broke out the passenger windows of all his vehicles because he didn't want to set off car alarms, police said. He was also picky about what he stole, Wright said. Boggs allegedly told police he would only steal what he could fit into his pocket and left items that could be traced, such as credit cards and guns, and items that offered limited resale value, such as GPS units and cellphones.
In all, Boggs caused $9,000 in damages and gleaned $8,000 worth of goods and cash from the vehicles, police said.
Altoona police arrested Boggs after patrolling officers noticed motion lights kicking on early Thursday in the area of 19th Street and Grant Avenue. Boggs remains in Blair County Prison in lieu of $10,000 cash bail and is due to appear at Central Court on Wednesday.