Thief spent $4,000 on debit cards stolen from pastor

by: Carl Willis Updated:

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DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. - A thief racked up thousands of dollars on stolen credit cards, including one that belonged to a metro Atlanta church, according to Douglasville police.

Channel 2's Carl Willis found theft victim James Freeman, a young pastor at the new Courageous Worship Church in Northwest Atlanta.

"Every dollar, every penny counts for a church our size," Freeman told Willis.

That's why it made a real impact when a man police identified as 39-year-old William Bush broke into the pastor's car at a Douglasville golf Course.

Through unlocked doors, or a cracked window in Freeman's case, police said Bush entered at least 15 cars, stole credit cards and committed nearly 100 counts of credit card and identity fraud.

Police said Bush stalked the Chapel Hill Road corridor for his targets, sticking mostly to parks and gyms.

They believe he's been breaking into cars since May, but he would only take the cash and the credit cards and leave the wallets and purse behind.

"If you notice that your wallet is still there, you don't necessarily think to go through it," said Freeman.

That left him just enough of a head start to go on a shopping spree.

Freeman said he only discovered the theft after his wife got an alert when someone used their debit card to buy tires, among other items.

"He went to Best Buy, he went to Dillards, he went to QuikTrip, he went to Red Lobster, he went to Petsmart, Publix," he said.

In all, he racked up $4,000 in two hours on the church's debit cards and the pastor's cards.

His spending came to an end this week.

Freeman said Bush was caught on surveillance camera and was arrested after he was recognized while trying to return an item.

"I just hope he learns from this and he just stops and becomes a productive citizen," said Freeman.

Douglasville police believe there are more victims out there who may not have realized that their cards were taken.

They ask anyone who believes they were a victim to give them a call.



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