Another rumor can be confirmed. Maura Murray was caught using a stolen credit card number in early November, 2003, according to documents received today from Amherst Police.
According to the police reports, in early November, a female student at UMass discovered some odd charges on her credit card statement. Someone had been using her credit card number to order take-out from Pinocchio's Pizza. After calling the credit company, this student called Amherst Police who then contacted Pinocchio's and two other area pizza restaurants. After checking their records, Pinocchio Pizza managers found that the orders had been delivered to Maura's dorm room. That very night, shortly after Pinocchio's was made aware of the fraud, Maura called and again tried to use the same number. Officers enlisted the deliveryman in a sting in which he would present the bill for Maura to sign. When she did, the police approached her dorm room.
The police quickly explained why they were there and took her picture (above). Maura at first gave no explanation. Eventually, she admitted using the card number, which she said she'd found on a discarded receipt in the trash.
According to the documents, the charges against Maura would have been dismissed in February, 2004, around the time she disappeared-- if she managed to stay out of trouble until then.
Here's the heartbreaking part. Maura was doing this for food. And the theft only amounted to $79.02.
To me, this hints at desperation. Life was coming down on Maura and for whatever reason she was not asking for help. Did the accident the weekend before her disappearance frighten her into running away? Did she mistakenly believe that being cited for the accident would keep these charges from being dismissed?
Why wasn't she asking friends for help? I'm sure she could have turned to any of her friends from Hanson and they would only have been too happy to help her out.