Just before 8:00 p.m. on Friday, Missoula Police Officers were dispatched to the Ace Hardware store on Brooks Street in regards to a possible fraud. Dispatch advised the male had a full shopping cart and that he was trying to charge to a store credit card account. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh explains.

“The complainant advised that a male had come in the day previous and charged several items to a credit account in the store,” Welsh said. “The complainant said the male returned and was attempting to purchase more items on that charge account. However, it was declined.”

When officers arrived, store employees said the male was currently inside the men's bathroom. The employee said the male identified himself as Elliot Michaels but would not provide an ID card. The officers waited outside the restroom until the male exited.

“The officers made contact with the suspect male and identified him immediately as 36-year-old John Skinner,” Welsh said. “The officers recognized Skinner from previous contacts. They were able to contact the account holder who confirmed that he had not given anyone permission to use his account and requested that Mr. Skinner be placed under arrest.”

Skinner was placed under arrest and was transported to the Missoula County Detention Center.

A copy of the receipt for the items charged on Thursday showed the total amount was $1,336.95, which included eight gift cards. The second receipt, which was for the charges attempted on Friday, totaled $1,721.67. The copy of the receipt for Thursday had the signature of Elliot Michaels, which Skinner stated he was told to use.

Skinner was charged with one count of felony deceptive practices.

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