A LaFayette Housing Authority manager who was arrested in May for burglary has been arrested again — this time for financial transaction card fraud, forgery and theft.
According to LaFayette police:
Lori Michelle Baker, 46, of LaFayette was arrested Monday, June 1, after a woman went to the LaFayette Police Department and told a detective she was a victim of burglary.
The woman, a Housing Authority resident, said her Walmart card had been stolen and used at the LaFayette Walmart and Murphy USA gas station.n.
There were nine fraudulent transactions between March 24 and April 26.
After the card was used, it was placed back in the victim’s closet.
The victim did not know the card was being used, until she received her monthly statement that had a late fee added to the charges as well as an email about the bill.
The victim told police she did not use the card herself, due to keeping a zero balance on the card.
The transactions totaled $497.11, with a $25 late fee added and an interest of $9.61, bringing the full total to $531.72.
The investigations led police to Baker, who allegedly stole the card.
Baker is charged with six counts of financial transaction fraud, three counts of forgery of a financial transaction card, and one count of financial transaction card theft.
Recent arrest for burglary
Baker, a now former LaFayette Housing Authority manager, was charged in May with five counts of burglary for stealing about $12,000 in jewelry and cash from the complex she oversaw as manager. She was arrested Thursday, May 14, and subsequently fired from her position.
LaFayette police captain Stacey Meeks said five residential burglaries occurred in the Foster Circle area.
Prior to Baker’s arrest, about $12,000 worth of jewelry and cash were reported as stolen by Housing Authority residents, the captain said.
After a theft at one apartment was reported to police over the weekend of May 1-3, other tenants began checking to see if they too were victims of a burglar, he said.
Meeks said tenants reported various pieces of jewelry and money had been stolen from their homes, including an engagement ring valued at more than $5,000.
Investigators determined the thefts must have occurred within the past few weeks of the incident and considered the manager as a suspect.
Baker had keys to all of the apartments within the complex and would routinely conduct inspections of the units.
Authorities believe Baker took jewelry from the victims’ units while conducting those inspections.
Detectives recovered numerous pieces of the victims’ jewelry at a local jewelry store, where during recent weeks Baker had periodically sold the items, Meeks said.
The store owner cooperated with authorities and relinquished all the stolen jewelry to the detectives. Those items have since been returned to the victims.
Meeks said the police department would like to commend detectives Wesley Steele and Billy Mullis for their work on the case.