A 25-year-old Paradise man was arrested in connection with multiple elder abuse and burglary charges that the Paradise Police Department alleges are connected with fraudulent debit card use by him and his girlfriend.Levi Garrett Wadman, 25, was the second arrest made following tips from Paradise SaveMart employees that also led to the arrest of 23-year-old Jenny Gravage. Both were arrested on numerous charges including elder abuse, burglary, possessing stolen property and narcotics charges. Wadman was allegedly found with numerous items police say he and Gravage bought with an 84-year-old Butte City man’s bank cards. The two are also suspected to have racked up at least $14,000 in cash back from SaveMart alone.
Police Sgt. Steve Rowe said Thursday morning that other stores and another bank account are involved including transactions at Kmart and the Chico Walmart.
The two suspects have children, 3 and 5, that are now in the care of other family members. They also have no other priors, police said. Sitting on the floor of the Paradise Police Department’s investigations office were seized items including a coffee pot, hand and power tools, a telescope, stereos and a toddler’s bed.
Rowe said it will be difficult for the victim to have the charges forgiven partially if at all because the transactions began around January 2011 and many have already cleared the bank. Wells Fargo alerted the elderly victim for whom Gravage was a caregiver, Rowe said.
“It’s a typical case of elder abuse,” he said of the retired U.S. Navy veteran victimized in the crimes.The investigation is ongoing, and police believe Sherri Vanlawick, Wadman’s mother, may be involved. She was arrested for violating probation and for driving with false registration. Gravage was arrested Monday afternoon at Taco Bell where Wadman was cited and released for having expired registration tags.
She was booked into Butte County Jail for 47 counts of identity theft, 47 counts of burglary, 47 counts of elder abuse, two counts of possessing stolen property and a single count of possessing a hypodermic needle, according to the Paradise Police Department logs.
Paradise Police Officer Ron Belser said the burglary charges are felonies stemming from Gravage’s entering Paradise SaveMart with intent to steal. Belser said SaveMart employees became suspicious of Gravage and reported the possible crimes to the department. Police told the employees to call when she returned and police caught up with Gravage during a traffic stop for expired registration at Taco Bell in Paradise.
Paradise police officers also arrested an inebriated suspect early Thursday morning just past midnight, for torching a car, rummaging through unlocked cars and stealing a number of items from cars on Elliott Road. Paradise man David Bowers, 24, was connected to five vehicle burglaries and a felony arson charge and misdemeanor prowling, police said late Thursday morning.
The activity was first reported shortly before midnight near Elliott and Sawmill roads and police caught Bowers leaving a residence with a large plastic container full of stolen items, Officer Robert Pickering said.
Bowers was on parole, has had numerous prior police contacts in the past 12 years and was uncooperative in the arrest, Pickering said. Police are still looking for the rightful owners of part of the estimated $1,000 in stolen items including compact discs by “Taylor Swift,” “Insane Clown Posse” and “Poison.”
Other items included binoculars, jewelry, perfume, sunglasses and change.