gift card

SMITHFIELD TWP., Pa. | A Monroe County man stands accused of stealing about $30,000 from his former employer by using the resort’s gift card system to make gift cards for himself.

Pennsylvania State Police last week charged Haydn P. Watkins, of East Stroudsburg, in connection with an investigation that started last December and revealed he allegedly purchased two handguns with some of the gift cards, according to a news release from state police with the Stroudsburg barracks.

In December, state police began a theft investigation from Club Wyndham Shawnee Village in Smithfield Township. Authorities determined that Watkins, a former employee, used the company’s American Express gift card system last fall to create about $30,000 worth of gift cards for his own use, according to the news release.

State police learned that the 29-year-old used some of the cards to purchase two handguns from a Stroudsburg sporting goods store.

Investigators interviewed Watkins last Friday at his current place of employment. He allegedly had one of the stolen American Express gift cards and baggies of heroin, according to police.

During an interview with police, Watkins reportedly admitted to the scheme. Authorities said it appears that he’d been trying to trade the pistols for heroin to an unknow dealer in Paterson, N.J. State police said they recovered the guns from an associate’s home in Northampton County.

State police charged Watkins with single felony counts of access device fraud and criminal use of a communication device along with misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possessing an instrument of a crime. He was arraigned Friday evening and released from custody Monday after a bondsman posted $10,000 bail on his behalf.

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