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Downtown man watches thief use his credit card stolen while he was out for a run, Madison police say

Downtown man watches thief use his credit card stolen while he was out for a run, Madison police say

Ronald Watson booking photo

Ronald Watson.

Technology resulted in the arrest of a thief who stole the wallet of Downtown man while he was out for a run, Madison police reported.

A 20-year-old resident of the 600 block of North Frances Street went out for a run early Wednesday afternoon and didn’t lock his backdoor, police spokesman Joel DeSpain said in a statement.

When he returned, his wallet was gone, but he was able to use his cell phone to determine that someone was using his credit card at Walgreens, 676 State St., DeSpain said.

The man went to the store and stood behind the suspect in line, watching as he used the stolen credit card to buy multiple packs of cigarettes. The man watched as the thief left the store and handed out packs of cigarettes to his friends, DeSpain said.

The man continued to follow the thief, but lost him as he called police. An officer responded to Walgreens, where he man had been required to provide a photo ID, and his image was captured on surveillance cameras, DeSpain said.

The officer went outside and soon spotted the suspect, Ronald Watson, 56, of Madison, in the 500 block of State Street. Watson told the officer he had made some purchases at Walgreens, but did so with a credit card given to him by a guy known downtown as "Shorty," DeSpain said.

Watson told the officer that "Shorty" is not allowed in Walgreens, and asked for assistance in buying some items. The officer said the story was not making sense, since Watson was still holding a Walgreens bag containing packs of cigarettes, and surveillance cameras were used to track Watson to places very near the runner’s apartment, right around the time of the burglary, DeSpain said.

Watson was arrested on a tentative charge of misappropriation of personal identifying materials and felony bail jumping.

Central District officers are aware of an individual who goes by "Shorty," and he told police that he had nothing to do with any of what Watson was talking about, DeSpain said.

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