Student set to appear in court for theft charges
A Linfield sophomore is scheduled to appear in court for his arraignment May 3 in Yamhill County Circuit Court on charges of identity theft, second-degree theft and third-degree theft.
The charges allege that he stole hundreds of dollars from fellow classmates at Linfield College.
William Chou, 20, was arrested April 3, posted bail at $5,250 and was released to appear in circuit court April 4 after being held at the Yamhill County Jail, according to court documents.
Chou was arrested after two students filed reports of theft with the McMinnville Police Department.
Senior Kaia Machalek turned in a Citizen Crime Report (CCR) on March 21, stating that her ATM card and pin had been used without her permission on three different occasions. The total of the transactions was $626 in ATM withdrawals. The larger transactions were made at an ATM machine located on campus.
At the time of the report, Machalek said that she did not have any suspect information. However, she reported later that she believed her friend, Chou, had stolen her ATM card and used it, court documents reveal.
A search warrant was issued March 28, as a result of Machalek’s report and another connecting case that identified Chou as the suspect in gift card thefts. When officers contacted Chou, he admitted to using Machalek’s ATM card and pin number without her permission for the three transactions on campus.
Chou was arrested April 3 and was initially facing charges of identity theft, second-degree theft and fraudulent use of a credit card.
Now, he is facing three counts of identity theft, three counts of second-degree theft and three counts of third-degree theft.
Court documents reveal that on or about March 9, 13 and 20, 2012, Chou unlawfully possessed, obtained, transferred, created, uttered or converted to his own use, the personal identification of Machalek. He committed theft of money in the total amounts of $202, $302, $102 and $20.
Documents also show that on or about Feb. 1, 2012 to Feb. 27, 2012, Chou unlawfully and knowingly committed theft of property of three Nordstrom gift cards from sophomore Natalie Cohrs, totaling less than $100.
As conditions of the court, Chou is not to have any contact with the victims.
Chou declined to comment about the case.
Due to students’ information being protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the school cannot comment on Chou’s conduct or whether there were any consequences, said Jeff Mackay, associate dean of students.
Victims involved in the case are also asked to keep any information regarding potential consequences, such as a conduct hearing, confidential.
Machalek declined to comment for this reason.
According to Chou’s Facebook page, he is majoring in elementary education and music-piano performance. He is a student caller for the Linfield College Department of Annual Giving, is an office assistant and usher for the Linfield Music Department and was a peer adviser for 2011-12 Colloquium.
Jessica Prokop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org