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Posted on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

Additional charges filed against accused credit card thieves at U-M

By Kyle Feldscher

Two men accused of stealing credit cards from unattended wallets, purses and backpacks at the University of Michigan have been arraigned on felony charges.


Jason Russ

Courtesy of state of Michigan

Todd Wilson, 42, and Jason Russ, 41, are said to be a crime duo that worked together to steal unattended items from university students and staff, U-M Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said. Both men were arraigned on multiple felonies Thursday.

"They were good captures by our guys," Brown said.

Russ, who was charged in mid-March in four cases, faces two additional charges each of possession or control of another’s financial transaction device with intent to use, deliver, circulate or sell; and stealing, taking or removing a financial transaction device; possession of fraudulent or altered financial transaction device and one additional charge of larceny in a building, according to court records.

The charges stem from an incident between 3:30 and 4 p.m. on March 2 in the Samuel Trask Dana Building, 440 Church St. Police said Russ stole a wallet from an unlocked office and then made unauthorized charges on a credit card before the owner could cancel it.

Russ has a lengthy criminal history. He has previous convictions for larceny in a building in 2011; assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer; attempting to disarm a peace officer of a firearm; unlawfully driving away an automobile in 2008; unlawfully driving away an automobile; and second-degree home invasion in 2004 and a conviction for receiving or concealing stolen property worth more than $1,000 but less than $20,000. He went on parole on Nov. 17, but is now being held in the Washtenaw County Jail.

Wilson, also known as Carlton Cross, is said to be Russ’ accomplice in many of the larcenies involving credit cards on campus in 2012, Brown said.


Todd Wilson

Courtesy of the state of Michigan

He was arraigned Thursday on two counts of larceny in a building and three counts each of possession or control of another’s financial transaction device with intent to use, deliver, circulate or sell; and stealing, taking or removing financial transaction device; possession of fraudulent or altered financial transaction device, according to court records.

The charges stem from an incident between 12:45 and 1:30 p.m. on March 5 in the Literature, Science and Arts Building, 500 S. State St. According to police, a wallet was taken from a purse that was left unattended in a fifth-floor office and charges were made to a credit card before it was canceled.

Wilson also has an extensive criminal history, with 15 known aliases, and he’s considered a parole absconder, according to state records. He has convictions for third-degree home invasion in 2010, first-degree home invasion in 2009, breaking and entering a vehicle to steal property more than $200 but less than $1,000 in 1990 and breaking and entering an occupied building with intent to commit a crime in 1989.

Both men are being held at the Washtenaw County Jail on a $5,000 cash or surety bond. Preliminary exams are scheduled for both men at 8:30 a.m. April 19.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

sometimes one makes life-long friends in school and sometimes other institutions....


Sun, Apr 15, 2012 : 3 a.m.

$5,000 bonds for these career thugs? You must be joking. Throw the book at them. Oh, that's right. It's Washtenaw County. Long rap sheets and still on the streets. Wait until they kill someone in a robbery. It's only a matter of time with career thugs who are perpetually on the streets in spite of that long rap sheet. I agree with other posts that UM is an open environment with punks targeting students and offices left unlocked. Until they install some real security at UM, at least security cameras in campus buildings, this will continue. Just because it's a public university with an open environment doesn't mean it can't have better security.


Wed, Apr 18, 2012 : 1 a.m.

Bravo to you, sir!


Sat, Apr 14, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

In a locked apartment with an unlocked window, an opportunistic person calmly collected a couple of laptops charging on the dining room table along with a phone and camera. The girls were asleep. It's hard to teach youngsters to be vigilant but we have to keep trying.


Sat, Apr 14, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

Having worked at UM for a few years prior to moving to another State, I can tell you that the campus is an open environment which supposedly improves the learning process. In reality, it's a feeding ground for opportunistic criminals who sense the lack of controls. Couple this with Ann Arbor's reputation for being weak on crime ... and you've got a plethora of criminals working the area 24/7. Things won't change until Ann Arborites get more "law and order" oriented (stiffer sentences, higher bonds). That probably won't happen until the limo liberal elite (faculty, UM management, politicians, etc.) sense that their property values are being negatively impacted by the upswing in criminal activity. Unfortunately, the mindset of some of the elite crowd is that some crime is good penance for being well-off financially. I'm sure there are philosophical arguments going on right now at the local coffee houses about this very topic.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 5:06 p.m. got that right...but not at a "chain" coffee house...'cept Starbucks, of course!


Sat, Apr 14, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

This type of theft has always been common at UM. Many people leave their belongings unattended and it is easy pickings. A lot of them just take the untraceable cash. Surprised it is not a lot more common. Maybe it is and only those caught are reported. With all the place where a thief can scan without giving up a card it is a wonder anyone gets caught doing this. Either of these guys could use a woman's card to buy carts full of groceries. Always wondered why credit card companies don't use PINs like debit cards. That would eliminate CC fraud.


Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

Were these simply homesick ex-cons looking to move back inside where it's safe, or just awesomely dull-witted thieves?


Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

smokeblwr: more prisons?! Please... We're one of 4 states in the US who spend more on prisons than on education! And, of course, our country has more people in prisons per capita than any other country - in the world. We out in front of #2 (Ruanda) by a large margin to boot. How much more do you want to spend? A lot of people in our prisons are for minor drug offenses. I don't want to waste more money building and manning prisons; if you do then can you pony up my share? UM is a magnet for thieves like this pair because students just don't seem to practice common sense -- how many times do you read here 'entry was made via an unlocked door' in reporting on UM crimes?


Sun, Apr 15, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

The big increase in prison populations since 1980 is due to The Drug War. I'm all for liberalizing drug laws. Unfortunately the state has been rather indiscriminate in releasing criminals. If you are against keeping career criminals in prison, maybe these guys can parole to your house next time.


Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

Todd Wilson, 42, and Jason Russ, 41, They make such a cute couple! By day stealing from the "RICH" (U of M students and teachers) while at night breaking and entering local homes and businesses. What diversity these individuals provide the Ann Arbor Community. I hope they aren't away too long!


Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

This is why I don't believe in parole. We the People cannot trust Them with second chances. Build more prisons and don't tell me it will cost too much. How many monies do the police waste trying to track these guys down? Not to mention they introduce fear and societal rot wherever they go.

Dog Guy

Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Keep this up and Coleman will ban you two from the U of M campus.


Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

Thanks, Lansing, for dumping criminals like these back into the community.


Sat, Apr 14, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

The alternative is bigger prisons. Big tax hike for that. The Dept of Corrections is a big ticket on the state budget, maybe the biggest. They were looking to let as many go as possible just because it was getting so expensive. I see Snyder is trying to control it: Granholm was too:


Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

One thing I am wondering is what connection they had to U-M? They appear to be career criminals. Why were they on campus and how come they were not noticed earlier. If convicted, I hope that stern justice is meted out as this is a crime that victimizes our youth.


Sat, Apr 14, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

Not only public, its just open. No difference at private universities. Usually only the resident buildings at locked.


Fri, Apr 13, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

UM is a public university. Citizens are allowed to come and go thorough most buildings in public areas.