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Police: Orem man claims stolen electronics were for girlfriend in India

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Posted at 8:47 PM, Aug 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-13 19:18:50-04

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — An Orem man is accused of trying to ship stolen electronic goods to Ghana, India, and the suspect allegedly told police the items were for a girlfriend he had never spoken with or met in person.

Police began investigating 47-year-old Joseph Harrison’s activity after officers in Springville received a report that a credit card had been used fraudulently to purchase a laptop from Walmart’s website.

According to a statement of probable cause, a Springville officer found Harrison’s name on a document used when the laptop was picked up at a Walmart in Springville.

The officer questioned Harrison about the laptop, and Harrison “admitted he had been having a relationship with a [woman] online for several months,” the probable cause statement said.

“He stated he knew what he was doing was probably wrong, but the [woman]  asked him to pick up all the items paid for with the fraudulent credit cards and send them to Ghana, India. He stated this [woman] was his girlfriend and they were in love,” the statement said. “I asked Harrison if he had ever [spoken] with his girlfriend or met her. He stated he had not. Harrison said he tried to call her a few times, but never spoke with her in person.”

Police told Harrison that he was involved in fraudulent activity, and that he could be charged criminally for it, “but [Harrison] did not seem to care,” the probable cause statement said.

The investigating officer said Harrison was found in possession of several other laptops, TVs, cellphones, security cameras and smartwatches worth about $6,600.

“On August 6, 2018, several packages were returned from the airport because of fraud alerts on Harrison’s name. He attempted to ship three different boxes of additional laptops, cell phones, and I-Watches, to Ghana. He also used false addresses for himself to avoid getting caught,” the probable cause statement said.

Police arrested Harrison at his place of employment.

“While traveling to the Utah County Jail, Harrison admitted to sending the packages to Ghana and lying to me about it,” the arresting officer wrote.

Harrison faces charges of receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony, and resisting arrest, a class B misdemeanor.