The Lookout

Slithering theater thief convicted, faces serious jail time

The Lookout

A Pennsylvania man was convicted of slithering around theater floors and stealing moviegoers' wallets and purses.

Anthony Johnson, 49, may have taken as much as $70,000 per week, according to authorities. Along with his accomplices, Johnson used the stolen credit cards and IDs to secure cash advances at local casinos. They also purchased thousands of dollars worth of goods from area retailers.

An accomplice testified against Johnson and detailed how the thefts occurred. Because the crimes necessitated purses on the floor, Johnson and a female accomplice would often buy tickets to female-oriented films like "Eat, Pray, Love" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." The pair sat in seats that allowed them a clear view of where the female patrons stored their handbags.

According to courtroom testimony, once the lights went down and the movie started, "Johnson crawled on the floor, removed credit cards from the stored purses, and returned the wallet to the purses." Johnson would then buy things like gift cards, iPods, and sunglasses and sell them at discounted prices. Johnson had equipment that he used to make fake IDs to match the credit cards.

Now the jig is up. Johnson will be sentenced on January 14. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the seven charges of stealing credit cards. He also faces additional years behind bars due to his identity theft convictions. Perhaps the toughest punishment of all--the memories of watching "Eat, Pray, Love" who knows how many times.

Johnson crawled on the floor to steal, this thief took another approach:

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