FLORENCE — One man is in jail and police are looking for a second who authorities say stole thousands from a good Samaritan who was giving them a place to sleep, officials said.
Michael Shane Canaday, 45, of Florence, is charged with first-degree theft of property, identity theft, second-degree possession of a forged instrument and 11 counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, police said.
Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Christopher Ryan Marsh, 34, Florence police detective Jerry Pearson said. Pearson said Marsh is wanted for first-degree theft of property, identity theft and 11 counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. He said Marsh is known to stay in various hotels in the Shoals.
Police said the men are accused of taking more than $10,000 from the checking account of a 60-year-old woman who was trying to help them during Thanksgiving.
"The woman was walking and met Canaday and once they got to talking she found out he was basically homeless," Pearson said. "She offered to let him come and stay at her house until he could find a place to stay."
A few days later, when the woman came home, Marsh was also at her house, according to reports.
"They both stayed a few more days with the lady and then they leave about the middle of December," Pearson said. "A few days later, she discovers more than $10,000 had been taken from her checking account and transferred to a PayPal account, which was in both of their names."
He said the men are accused of using the woman's credit card 11 times to make $700 in purchases including pizza, a hotel room and to pay cellphone bills.
"Plus, Canaday cashed a $400 check where he forged the woman's name," Pearson said.
He said police had been looking for the two men for the last couple of weeks.
"Then Canaday is stopped by patrol driving a truck reported stolen from Sheffield," Pearson said. "And at the time he was stopped, officers found marijuana under the seat. So, now he faces other charges as well as these."
Pearson said the search for Marsh continues.
Anyone with any information about his whereabouts is asked to call the police at 256-768-2728 or Shoals Crime Stoppers at 256-386-8685.
Canaday is being held in the Lauderdale County Detention Center without bond.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.