WARSAW — A Nappanee man is accused of using the identity of his girlfriend’s late husband to sell items at a pawn shop.
Justin Beach, 37, is charged with two counts of identity deception and two counts of forgery in the warrant that was issued in a Kosciusko County court. The warrant was issued in April and served July 17 while Beach was in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on similar charges.
Each count is a Level 6 felony, which carries a punishment of up to 2-1/2 years in jail. His bond in the new case was set at $10,000, though he is still being held in the jail in Elkhart County.
According to court documents:
A Goshen Police detective alerted the Warsaw Police Department in February that Beach had pawned items at a pawn shop in town using the identity of a man who was deceased. Warsaw Police confirmed that a man by the name of the deceased had pawned some tools there on Feb. 13 and Feb. 21.
Police obtained surveillance footage and the paperwork from the transaction. The paperwork included the signature of the deceased man and a thumbprint, but Beach is the one who could be seen on the video selling the tools.
Warsaw police spoke with the widow of the deceased man, who said she dated Beach after her husband died. She said she suspected Beach was using her late husband’s identity fraudulently.
The woman said her husband’s ID went missing from her wallet in January or early February. She also noticed paperwork in Beach’s book bag that was from a Warsaw pawn shop and had her late husband’s name on it.
Beach was arrested in Elkhart County in March on two counts of identity deception and two counts of forgery. Police said he used the same deceased man’s identification to pawn items at a Goshen shop on Feb. 19, but the manager recognized Beach from past transactions and knew he wasn’t who he claimed to be.
The manager also found that the man whose ID Beach used hadn’t been in the store since August 2018 and had actually died in October. The manager called police while Beach was in the store again on March 21 and officers arrested Beach while he was in the middle of a transaction.
Beach claimed he used the dead man’s ID because he had lost his own. He also said he had used the ID at a shop in Warsaw.
He pleaded guilty to one count of identity deception in an Elkhart County court and was sentenced on June 10 to two years in jail. Six months of his sentence will be served on probation.