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May 15, 2014

DA charges pair accused in Edmond area theft cases

EDMOND — Two Oklahoma City residents are accused of deceiving elderly victims, taking their wallets and making unauthorized purchases, according to court records.

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office filed two counts of felony exploitation of an elderly person against both Sandra Faye Keel, 50, of Oklahoma City, and Johnny Ray Watkins, 51, of Oklahoma City. They also face multiple counts of unlawfully possessing debit and credit cards.

Keel and Watkins are being held in the Oklahoma County jail without bond, according to jail records.

According to court records and the DA’s office, Keel’s Oklahoma County criminal history includes unauthorized use of a vehicle in 2006, larceny from a person at night in 2005, a felony cocaine possession charge in 2003, an escape from a penitentiary in 1997, a second-degree forgery charge and a separate larceny from a person at night charge in 1996, and several other charges dating back to 1992.

On May 6, in a previous felony Oklahoma City Police Department case, Keel entered a negotiated plea of guilty to two counts of exploitation of an elderly person/disabled adult and one count of concealing stolen property, and Watkins entered a negotiated plea of guilty to one count of exploitation of an elderly person/disabled adult and one count of concealing stolen property.

The most recent charges stem from an investigation led by Edmond Police Detective Sharla Bradley who filed an affidavit of probable cause on May 9 in Oklahoma County District Court.

On March 19, two female victims reported their wallet was stolen — one from Crest and the other from Wal-Mart; a third victim also reported an incident at Crest, the affidavit stated. In all three incidents, suspect description information matched, the affidavit stated.

A 78-year-old victim said she was backing her vehicle out of a parking space at the Edmond Crest when a black male approached her vehicle, tapped on the window and said she had struck another vehicle, the affidavit stated.

The victim said a black female who was in her late 30s or 40s, tall, skinny and wearing a long black wig, approached her passenger side and said, “I think you go to our church,” the affidavit stated.

According to the affidavit, as the black female got into her vehicle and continued the conversation, the victim put her purse between herself and the  door, her usual action when a passenger is in her vehicle.

A short time later, the defendant left her vehicle, and the victim did not notice anything missing, the affidavit stated. She wrote down the Oklahoma tag (516JWP) of an older white vehicle that had pulled into the parking lot and gave it to the Edmond Police Department, the affidavit stated.

Bradley had the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office make a line up using Keel and five other black females who resemble Keel and the victim positively identified the defendant (without a wig) as the person who got into her vehicle and told her she knew her from church, the affidavit stated.

Bradley stated in surveillance video she could see Watkins allegedly reach into a purse belonging to one of the victims after Keel lured her away from a shopping cart to look at her phone.

Oklahoma tag 516JWP came back as a 1996 Buick four-door vehicle registered to a Sayre woman who said her daughter’s ex-boyfriend — Watkins — has the vehicle still registered to her, the affidavit stated.

The ex-girlfriend agreed to look at images Bradley obtained from surveillance video, according to the affidavit. On April 3, the ex-girlfriend sent Bradley an email message identifying Watkins and Keel as the individuals in the images, the affidavit stated.

On April 25, Bradley and fellow Edmond Detective Misty Spence went to the Oklahoma County jail and spoke with Watkins. After being read his rights, Watkins admitted it was him and Keel in the images from Crest, Kohl’s and 7-Eleven, the affidavit stated.

Bradley stated a larceny victim reported unauthorized charges on a credit card at a 7-Eleven in Edmond, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney and Macy’s, the latter two at Quail Springs Mall.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108

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