Suspect accused of spending over $16K with credit card stolen from Iowa City business owner


A suspect is accused of using a credit card stolen from an Iowa City business owner to make over $16,000 in purchases.

The owner of OM Gifts for Body and Soul reported to Iowa City Police on December 6th that her wallet was missing and that someone had used one of her credit cards at Coral Ridge Mall, racking up $16,176.85 in purchases at multiple businesses. The purchases were all captured on security video, with staff at Riddle’s Jewelry saying the suspect had shown them a Nevada ID card with the victim’s name and the suspect’s photo on it.

Two days later the victim located video from OM security cameras that showed the same male suspect enter an employees-only area of the South Linn Street business and steal her wallet from her purse.

33-year-old Liviu Stelica, who has no known address, was developed as a suspect after investigators learned he had been involved in similar incidents around Iowa and Nebraska. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol had previously identified Stelica when he entered the country, and investigators were able to find one of his social media accounts. The account included photos of Stelica wearing the same clothes he was reportedly wearing during the Coral Ridge Mall spending spree.

Stelica was booked into the Johnson County Jail just before 2:00 Saturday morning and charged with 2nd Degree Burglary, Unauthorized Use of a Credit Card Over $10,000 and Identity Theft. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum of 25 years in prison. Stelica is also being held for the West Des Moines Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.