TOWN OF WAUKESHA — Two men from Detroit are accused of using a stolen identity in an attempt to buy a $15,000 ATV from a business in the Town of Waukesha. The accused are James Bell Jr., 43, and Anthony Smelley, 31 — both were charged in July 2018. Bell Jr. is in custody — and there is a warrant out for the arrest of Smelley.
The two men face the following criminal charges:
- Attempt theft – false representation over $10,000, as a party to a crime (Bell Jr. & Smelley)
- Identity theft – financial gain, as a party to a crime (Bell Jr. & Smelley)
- Obstructing an officer (Smelley)
According to the criminal complaint, a worker at Action Power Sports in the Town of Waukesha received an online application for credit on Dec. 8, 2017. The application was to secure credit for the purchase of a $15,000 ATV. The worker told police “there appeared to be no problems with the application and it was in fact approved.”
On Dec. 13, two individuals walked into Action Power Sports and signed the contract for the sale of the ATV. They were Bell Jr. and Smelley. The complaint indicates “both individuals appeared upset that they couldn’t pick up the ATV immediately” because it was not in stock at the moment. They were told they could pick up the ATV the next day.
Prior to the sale being completed, the sales manager “received multiple phone calls regarding the purchase which seemed odd.” So he and the sales worker reviewed all documentation for the sale. They determined the driver’s license number that was provided in the application was “not consistent with the format used in Wisconsin.”
When Bell Jr. and Smelley returned on Dec. 14 to pick up the ATV, police were called to the store and both men were taken into custody. The complaint indicates “the two were found to be in possession of a number of credit cards and person information for individuals.” The information was found on Smelley. When asked about it, he stated “he didn’t know what the officer was talking about and asked if he could see it. When the officer showed it to him he took it and began to rip it into little pieces. At that point he was stopped, the note was recovered , and it was placed back together as best as could be done.”
At some point, Bell Jr. and Smelley must have been released from custody — because online records show after the criminal complaints were filed against the two men, arrest warrants were issued for both.
Bell Jr. made his initial appearance in Waukesha County court on Tuesday, Nov. 27. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 6.