MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 56-year-old West St. Paul man has been found guilty of two counts of identity theft. The jury also found that he’s a career criminal, which makes him eligible for a tough sentence.

Donald Allen Ellis, who will be sentenced on Oct. 1, was found guilty of breaking into cars throughout the Twin Cities and stealing credit cards. Then, accomplices, and sometimes himself, would go to stores such as Target and buy gift cards with the stolen credit cards.

“Criminals like Donald Ellis make it easy for prosecutors to ask a jury to determine he is a career criminal and then to seek the highest penalty possible,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. “He has spent 40 years stealing credit cards, debit cards, checks and drivers licenses and then posing as the victims. He has left a long trail of innocent people who had to spend hours cancelling accounts and watching their credit reports. Society won’t miss him a bit.”

Ellis recruited drug abusers and the homeless as his accomplices.

Ellis’ scheme was discovered in October 2011 during a routine traffic stop.

Ellis could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.