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Connecticut cinema bandit slithered under seats to steal $70G per week, officials say

A Philadelphia man who may have stolen as much as $70,000 per week by slithering on floors to lift credit cards from unsuspecting moviegoers has been convicted of fraud and identity theft crimes.

Anthony Johnson, 49, and several accomplices used the stolen cards for thousands of dollars in cash advances from Connecticut’s casinos and retail purchases worth tens of thousands more throughout the state and elsewhere, FBI officials announced Monday.

On a “good” weekend, Johnson collected up to $70,000 from the scheme, one of his accomplices testified last week during his trial in U.S. District Court in Hartford. Roughly $30,000 or $40,000 was the take on a bad weekend, he testified according to The Hartford Courant.

Johnson, of Philadelphia, typically worked with female accomplices. They purchased tickets to see films geared toward female moviegoers and chose seats where they could watch where those woman stored their pocketbooks.

"Once the movie started, Johnson crawled on the floor, removed credit cards from the stored purses, and returned the wallet to the purses," according to an FBI affidavit. "Johnson crawled in this manner around the theater until he was done … "

Johnson and one female accomplice, Lashirelle Bryant, then used the stolen credit cards to purchase gift cards, clothing, electronics, designer sunglasses and a $10,000 Rolex watch. Known in Philadelphia as "Hustlin' Tone," Johnson drove a gold Mercedes and favored designer clothing, CTPost reports. 

Bryant and another female accomplice, Jamie Lynn McGowan, both testified against him last week. Johnson, who will be sentenced on Jan. 14, was convicted Monday of seven counts of authorized use of an access device and two counts of aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 74 years in prison.

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