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November 13, 2019

9/24/2019 7:30:00 AM
Rhinelander man charged with food card, ID theft
Abigail Bostwick
Of the Lakeland Times

A Rhinelander man has waived his right to a preliminary hearing on allegations he stole several identities and a food card.

Anthony Comella, 28, with previous addresses in Rhinelander and Eagle River, was in Vilas County Circuit Court last week before Judge Neal Nielsen on the felony charges. According to the complaint, Comella is said to have taken another person's ATM card in March of this year. That person also reported a TV and computer missing, noting to police the TV was returned but not the computer, which Comella told the person he knew nothing about. A few days later, the alleged victim told police a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development had been received, asking for a repayment of $573 for unemployment overpayment. It was discovered the funds were directly deposited into the alleged victim's account, but the alleged victim was unaware of the transaction and Comella had the number to the card.

Police found the card was used to withdraw cash from ATMs. The amounts were $300, $200, $440 and $135.

Comella was in jail for third offense operating while intoxicated at the time the alleged victim made the report, but released shortly after, according to court records.

When interviewed by Vilas County investigators, another alleged victim - a neighbor and friend of Comella's near Eagle River - said it was believed Comella had taken the second person's debit card pin and used it, as well as took a TV and computer without permission. Further, Comella took food from the apartment purchased with the alleged victim's food card, it was claimed.

Comella also told the second alleged victim about how he would steal liquor from area grocery stores and talked about "hacking other people's stuff," the victim and past friend told police.

A search warrant was served at Comella's then-home in Eagle River, where law enforcement located a victim's food card. Also found were several computers, paperwork for one victim, cell and trac phones, hard and thumb drives, folders with various people's names and identifiers, a debit card of a victim, in addition to various prescriptions.

Comella is charged with felony burglary, three counts of misappropriate ID for money, unauthorized use of food stamps and knowingly traffic food stamps - all as a repeat offender plus misdemeanors theft, credit card theft and four counts financial transaction with a card/fraudulent use.

Filed in the same county is a case charging Comella with six counts felony bail jumping/repeater, disorderly conduct with use of a dangerous weapon and criminal damage to property, all as a repeat offender. In that case, Comella is accused of violating bond in July this summer when he's said to have slashed tires and threatened someone with a knife during an altercation involving three men at a house on State Highway 70.

In yet another felony case in Vilas County, Comella is up against felony bail jumping/repeater and disorderly conduct/repeater, and two counts felony all jumping and resisting/obstructing an officer in an additional case.

A pre-trial conference is forthcoming in November. Comella is represented by public defender Attorney Adam Snavely. He may not have contact with the alleged victims or the places where the crimes are alleged to have occurred and he must maintain total sobriety as part of his several signature bonds.

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