The Johnston Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the man who is responsible for shoplifting high-end sunglasses at OPTX Rhode Island on Saturday, January 21, at OPTX Rhode Island. Please contact the Johnston Police Detective Bureau and ask for Det. Michael Edwards at (401) 757-3176 if you recognize this person.
While on a fixed post at 920 Plainfield Street around 8:50 p.m. on January 13, Patrolman Kevin Brady observed a car pass him that had a headlight out and an excessively loud muffler. The officer then followed the vehicle, which then sped up.
The officer then activated his overhead lights and siren, and the suspect vehicle then sped away and used the opposite lane of travel to pass to vehicles before continuing westbound. Officer Brady then broadcast that the suspect vehicle was refusing to stop, along with his location.
When the car reached Morgan Avenue, the vehicle did not use a turn signal and again passed another vehicle that was in front of it. As the cars reached the intersection of Morgan Avenue and School Street, the suspect vehicle made an abrupt stop. Additional members of the department then arrived on scene to provide assistance.
The driver, identified as Lee Mitchell, 34, of 1347 Plainfield Street, 2nd floor in Johnston, was found to have a suspended license, inactive registration and an active Sixth District Court hold without bail warrant for failure to appear for driving with an expired license. He was placed under arrest and transported to police headquarters.
Mitchell was issued a District Court summons for eluding police, driving on a suspended license, operating an unregistered vehicle, overtaking on the left, and turn signal required. He was later transported to the ACI.
On November 21 around 1:33 p.m., Officer Adam Parkinson responded to the Atwood Avenue Santander Bank in reference to some fraudulent banking activity. There, he was advised by bank personnel that sometime in July a man entered the bank and used a Nigerian passport to open an account. Upon opening the account, he deposited two business checks that appeared altered – the checks were legitimate, however the person they were drafted to was fals –and had denominations of $13,900 and $12,055.78.
Several days later, the man returned and withdrew all the money, and it was discovered that multiple Internet transfers totaling several thousand dollars had been conducted. The bank advised that a report was filed with the company’s fraud department but not with the Johnston Police Department.
Officer Parkinson was then told that a month later another account was opened through the bank by the same man with another altered check in the amount of $20,238.65. Again, the suspect tried to withdraw the funds a few days later. However, the teller advised that the account had been blocked and the funds were unavailable.
A third account was later opened at a Cranston branch of Santander, owever, this time the man used a passport from Ghana. Again, an altered check was used and an attempt was made to withdraw all the funds. The man was recognized from previous encounters and an attempt was made to stall the man while the bank’s fraud department was contacted. When the bank employee returned, however, the man was no longer on the premises.
The bank advised that they wished to pursue criminal charges, and the suspect was identified as Opeyemi Orekan, 26, of 5 Fera Street, Apt. 3 in North Providence. A warrant was then issued for his arrest.
On January 8, Patrolman Louis Cotoia and other members of the department responded to the Pawtucket Police Department to take custody of Orekan, who had been arrested. He was also wanted by the Cranston Police Department for passing counterfeit bills and identity fraud. He was transported back to Johnston, arraigned before Justice of the Peace Connors and released on $10,000 personal recognizance. He was then turned over to the Cranston Police for their outstanding charges.