Investigators allege an Idaho County couple was involved in multiple summer burglaries through the region, stealing property and also credit cards that were fraudulently used to purchase fuel and high-end tools.
With one half – Jacob D. Smart, 28 - of this husband-wife team already in custody, the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office last week issued a nationwide felony warrant for Janet Lee Smart, 41. More arrests in these cases may be pending.
“We are looking at other people, and charges are being looked into regarding the use of these credit cards,” said ICSO Detective Brian Hewson.
Janet also goes by the last names of Webb and Reams, is 5’ 4’’, 145 pounds, brown hair, and tattoos on her right wrist and back. She may be in the Lewiston/Clarkston areas, Homedale or Meridian, driving a red 2005 Dodge crew cab pickup. Janet is sought for unlawful use and possession of a financial transaction card, with more charges pending.
Jacob is charged in Idaho County with fraudulent possession of a financial transaction card and possession of a fraudulently obtained financial transaction card, both felonies. He is currently held in the Canyon County jail on two counts of grand theft and burglary for an unrelated incident committed in Homedale. This break-in occurred the day after he allegedly fled from his parole officer and ICSO Detective Jerry Johnson who were to charge him for trespassing concerning a Wall Creek Road residence burglary in Clearwater. This charge, Hewson explained, along with probation violations on a felony conviction out of Lewis County, would have held him in custody as investigators completed their case for further charges.
“At the time we felt he was a wrecking ball going through Idaho County,” Hewson said, “and we wanted to get him stopped.”
On July 15-16, the Smarts are alleged to have been involved in a Nez Perce County residential burglary in Waha where items including tools, a saddle and a credit card were taken. During this time the card was used to purchase fuel at Primeland stations in Nezperce, Cottonwood and Grangeville; and activity identified as possible fraud by the card company stopped attempts to withdraw $4,000 from the account and also complete a $5,665 power tool purchase – allegedly by Jacob- from a traveling salesman with HD Power Inc. of Boise in Cottonwood. However, that tools purchase – a diesel and gas generator, air compressor, water pump and pressure washer – went through the following day between the salesman and Janet who met at Hoots Café in White Bird, authorized by the company’s Boise office on a separate credit card number.
True to the pattern, this card – belonging to Big Butte Construction Co. - was also stolen, this from an office in Cottonwood sometime in July, allegedly by Jacob, according to Hewson. However, it had not been reported to the sheriff’s office, and the card was subsequently used to make fraudulent fuel purchases in Nezperce, Cottonwood and Grangeville, and the power tool purchase.
Hewson said the Smarts are alleged to have involvement in at least three more burglaries in Idaho County: on the Grangeville-Salmon Road in Grangeville, north of town on Yellow Bull Road and at Clearwater. In the last, Jacob was allegedly seen by the victim turning around in driveway and was confronted before he drove off. The victim then found her residence was broken into and clothing, jewelry and guns were stolen.
The Smarts were arrested by Canyon County authorities after allegedly burglarizing the residence of his landlord. However, Janet was released on a day reporting program pending her court hearing, according to Hewson, and subsequently went into hiding.