Saturday, August 13, 2022

Warrants issued for ex-Popeyes employee in connection with credit card fraud case

Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Shakira Brenae King, 22, in connection to credit card fraud reports at the Williamsburg Popeye's franchise. (WYDaily/Courtesy WPD)
Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Shakira Brenae King, 22, in connection to credit card fraud reports at the Williamsburg Popeye’s franchise. (WYDaily/Courtesy WPD)

Update: King was arrested on Tuesday by the Williamsburg Police Department, according to WPD reports.

Williamsburg Police have taken out warrants for a former Popeyes employee in connection with two reports of credit card fraud last month.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Shakira Brenae King, 22, has outstanding warrants for two counts of felony credit card theft, one count of felony credit card fraud and one count of misdemeanor credit card fraud, said John Heilman, public information officer for the department.

An investigation began after two Popeyes customers told police money had been withdrawn from their credit card accounts on April 19 and April 21 after going through the location’s drive-thru. One report was for $1,200 withdrawn and another for $315.90.

Heilman said the first credit card was “physically stolen” from the customer during the drive-thru, while the only the credit card number was stolen from the other.

The $1,200 was spent at multiple locations and investigators were able to connect the transactions on the credit card with CCTV footage matching King’s description at the various stores, police said.

The $315.90 was spent through an online transaction that was connected to a Facebook account associated with King’s name, Heilman said.

King, who no longer works for Popeyes, has not yet been served the warrants as of Tuesday afternoon.

But even with the incidents at the franchise last month, the location’s new general manager, Sonny Beralo, is confident in making amends with the community.

“We want to assure all the customers that they shouldn’t be afraid to use their cards here,” Beralo said. “I was brought out here to get the people’s trust again in our store and show that the Williamsburg Popeyes is proud to be a part of this community.”

Beralo started as general manager on Monday after the company brought him in from New Jersey.

Related story: Police: Credit card information possibly stolen from local Popeyes

While police spokesman Charles Ericsson said there have not been any additional reports since the original two, that didn’t stop many from taking to community social media pages to express their concern.

And that’s what Beralo hopes to correct.

“First and foremost, I’m going to reach out to the people that we wronged in the beginning and make sure that we make it right somehow,” he said. “I will make sure we are going in the right direction.”

Since the incident, the location has taken steps to protect customer information. The programming company that originally installed the credit card readers, SICOM, has been working with the franchise to replace and protect the devices for future use.

Additionally, the location is in a staff transition period, Beralo said, following the events in April. Currently, there are about 30 employees working at the location but Beralo hopes to expand more in the near future.

In the next few weeks, he said he plans to start searching and hiring new employees for the restaurant— and this time making sure the employees are trustworthy and dedicated.

“We always thoroughly do our due diligence in hiring,” Beralo said. “We make sure each employee is qualified.”

Beralo said the location is gearing up for Memorial Day weekend and he has been satisfied with the busy guests that come in each day. But he said he knows the location will have to make up for April’s incidents and he is ready for the to make amends.

“We are going to right the wrongs,” he said. “I’m here to make sure we are going to benefit the community and that this is a Popeye’s to be proud of.”

Popeyes corporate office did not immediately respond for comment.

Authorities are asking anyone who may have information on King’s whereabouts to call the Crime Line at 888-LOCK-U-UP.

Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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