By Shereen Siewert
A Florida man suspected in a string of thefts at medical facilities three states including Wisconsin now faces burglary and other charges in Marathon County.
The suspect has been identified as Steven T. Paige, 52, of Palm Bay, Florida. Paige faces criminal charges filed Sept. 27 in Marathon County Circuit Court of burglary, theft, three counts of credit card theft, and fraudulent use of a credit card. Paige was arrested Sept. 16 in Georgia.
The charges are the result of a Wausau Police investigation that began Aug. 15, when police responded to a Wausau physician’s office for a report of a stolen wallet that contained $500 in fundraiser gift cards, identification materials, three credit cards, a prescription pad and cash. Before the physician could cancel her credit cards they were used to buy hundreds of dollars in prepaid Visa debit cards at a local store, according to court documents.
Police reviewed surveillance footage at the medical facility, retail outlets where the cards were purchased, and a motel to aid in identifying the man and the vehicle he was driving, a 2013 Kia Optima with the Florida license plate GRDC18, court documents state. The man’s description matches that of a suspect in several other jurisdictions in which thefts prompted a statewide crime alert.
The alert was issued in late August after staff at Divine Savior Hospital in Portage reported seeing a man acting suspiciously and walking in an area designated solely for employees. When hospital staff confronted the man, he said he was lost, police said, but minutes later an employee discovered her purse was missing.
The purse was later recovered at a rest stop along I-39.
According to the crime alert, multiple similar thefts by a man at medical facilities in Eau Claire, Baldwin, Menomonie, Osseo, Wausau and Red Wing, Minnesota. At least one victim in Illinois has also been identified.
Paige was transported first to the St. Croix County Jail, where he faces six counts of misappropriation of identification information to obtain money. He remains jailed as of Oct. 2 and will eventually be transferred to the Marathon County Jail to face charges here. A date for an initial appearance in Marathon County has not yet been set.