Victim of $8K credit card theft was Alaska servicemember about to deploy

By DEVIN KELLY | The Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News | Published: February 22, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Anchorage police are asking for the public's help identifying a group of suspects believed to have charged thousands of dollars to a government credit card taken from a stolen truck last summer.

The thefts occurred over the course of two days in August. On Aug. 12, a woman reported that her truck had been stolen, according to Detective Darren Hernandez with the Anchorage police theft unit.

The unidentified woman told police she had lost her main set of keys in Anchorage two weeks earlier and was driving with a spare set. She believed someone found her keys near where she lives and took her truck, Hernandez said, citing a police report.

The woman was a member of the military and was preparing for deployment, and all of her military gear was inside the truck, including body armor. Her purse was also inside, Hernandez said.

On Aug. 19, the truck was recovered in front of a Mountain View apartment complex, and police arrested a teenage girl who was inside, Hernandez said. All of the military gear was missing, as was the victim's purse, he said.

The purse contained a government-issued credit card used for deployment purposes. When the victim checked the balance on the card, she noticed a series of fraudulent charges, Hernandez said.

"The government credit card had been used, I mean, a lot," Hernandez said.

In all, thieves racked up some $8,000 in charges at businesses around Anchorage, buying a 55-inch TV at Wal-Mart, groceries at Fred Meyer, gas at Holiday gas stations and food at Dairy Queen and McDonald's. There were also records of ATM cash withdrawals.

A thief also tried to buy a computer at Wal-Mart but the card was declined, Hernandez said. That happened on Aug. 13, a day after the truck was stolen.

"That was pretty much the end of the road," he said.

Images captured on surveillance video at the point when the card was used shows that multiple people were using the card to make purchases. At least five suspects have been identified through the video footage, though more could be out there, Hernandez said.

"They were just passing (the card) around," Hernandez said.


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