WATERVILLE — A man who racked up nearly $4,600 in charges on a stolen credit card is under arrest after police found him Wednesday in a motel with a homeless woman and four hungry children.

The man, Chad Gilley, 38, told police he found the card on the floor of a convenience store and used it in Waterville over the weekend to buy food, clothing, lottery tickets and a hotel room, according to police Chief Joseph Massey.

Massey said he was angry that the children, ages 6 to 11, had not eaten breakfast when the family was picked up by police late morning Wednesday. Police fed the children, who played games and watched children’s programs on television for about six hours until the state Department of Health and Human Services came for them.

“The worst thing about this case is that we had four children here, who I can call victims, to be hauled around all weekend … by this guy using a fraudulent credit card and charging things all over town,” Massey said.

Massey said Gilley, whose last known address was Elm Street, was arrested nine times in the city between 2007 and 2009 for everything from assault to burglary. He was convicted of assault, vehicle burglary, operating under the influence, habitual motor vehicle offender and violation of conditional release in the last few years. “Here’s a guy who’s had multiple arrests and multiple contacts with police and he’s still out and about, victimizing people,” Massey said.

Police began investigating Monday when a Clinton woman reported about $4,562 in fraudulent charges to her credit card in Waterville, Massey said.

“She was shocked,” Massey said.

The woman last used her credit card Friday at J&S Oil convenience store and thought she had the card when she left there, according to Massey.

After speaking to employees at the store, Officer Jen Weaver went to Econo Lodge on Kennedy Memorial Drive, where a clerk told her the person using the card was still in a room.

Weaver was joined by two other officers who used a hotel key to open the room after no one responded to knocking.

They found Gilley with the four children, some of whom are his, Massey said. Gilley told police their mother was out shopping. When she returned they all were taken to the police station.

Gilley told Weaver that he found the credit card on the floor Friday in J&S Oil, Massey said.

“Three minutes after the (card owner) paid for her purchase, Gilley charged a 96-cent candy bar with the credit card as a test to see if it would work — same place, right there — and it went through,” Massey said. “After that, he started purchasing things all weekend from different stores, hotels.”

Gilley told police he made the credit card purchases himself and the woman with him was not involved.

When police called the DHHS, they learned the department had been working with the woman and her children and had been trying to find them, he said. DHHS on Wednesday found a temporary shelter for the woman and children, he said.

Gilley was arrested and charged with felony forgery, felony theft and criminal trespassing and was taken to Kennebec County jail in Augusta.

He was also wanted on outstanding warrants for failure to pay restitution and a hold by probation officials, Massey said.

Massey said the mother is at fault too, for keeping the children out of school and not making better choices.

“The city does have a welfare office, and she could have come here,” he said. “She could have come to the police. She could have reached out to DHHS, which she knew was looking for her.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

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