"Well, um, actually, I had a good reason to steal my sick grandmother's credit card. Mama told me to…"
I'm daydreaming. Occasionally, as I work my way through the best credit card crimes making the news, and when I come to a particularly heinous theft, I find myself picturing the criminal someday in the afterlife, trying to explain what his or her reasoning was at the time. Whether you believe in Heaven or Hell or not, you have to admit, it's kind of fun to picture some thug trying to explain his way into the Pearly Gates. Trust me, you'll see what I mean in a moment. Some of the criminals this week hit some new lows.
What's next, grand theft auto?
In Town Creek, Alabama, a mother went to jail after authorities learned that she convinced her 14-year-old son to break into his grandmother's car, get into her briefcase and steal her credit cards.
But as I like to do in this column, let's give the mother the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the mother and son were starving? And since the grandmother wasn't speaking to her, it seemed to be the only way the mom could feed her growing boy?
Close but not quite. The mom reportedly needed to buy things like cigarettes, gasoline and snacks, some of which she then allegedly traded for crack cocaine.
Their victims don't have enough problems with medical bills?
The Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times has a little item about police searching for a woman who used stolen credit cards and racked up $9,000 in charges. OK, bad enough, but she stole the three credit cards from a local hospital. Presumably from the patients as opposed to the staff, but the paper doesn't say.
Perhaps hospitals need to remind patients and staff to be on their guard. Also this week, in Boynton Beach, Fla., a 24-year-old office worker had her wallet and cell phone stolen from Bethesda Memorial Hospital. At first, once again employing the benefit of doubt, my heart went out to this thief--who was pregnant, according to security footage--because I assume she was probably using her stolen American Express to buy up diapers and formula.
But since she allegedly bought $1,484 in Apple iPhone products from Best Buy and $1,114 in electronics from Target, and apparently not one package of Pampers…well, she lost me.
How do these people sleep at night?
In Kitchener, Ontario, last week, at least two people, a man and possibly a teen girl, allegedly pilfered credit cards from an 87-year-old woman in a pharmacy. The victim was approached by a young man who wanted her to look at an item he had picked up from a shelf. The police think that while the man was chatting to her, the teen girl filched the victim's wallet, which had several credit and debit cards in there. There possibly was a third man helping them, authorities have said.
The victim had a white cane in her shopping cart. It was impossible for them not to notice that not only was she approaching 90, she was almost blind, able to see shapes but little else. She also mentioned that she couldn't see very well.
Meanwhile, the crooks, who are still at large, made off with at least $2,000 in electronics.
For their next trick, maybe they can take candy from a baby?
I don't know how I missed this--it made some local news headlines late last month--but it should be noted that Chantell Reese Cox, 52, and Nathaniel Cox, 54, are currently facing charges in Athens, Ga., for stealing a credit card from a 96-year-old cancer patient and then spending $800 on gasoline and odds and ends at Kmart, Walmart and Family Dollar. What's more, Ms. Cox was the man's hospice nurse.
Yeah, try explaining that to the Big Guy upstairs. People like the Coxes kind of make me almost admire our next thieves. At least they were just your garden-variety thieves. And clever, too.
Who knew aluminum foil was so useful?
Three men from Detroit reportedly came down to the Cincinnati area (hey, my stomping grounds!) and tried to pull off a pretty innovative plan to steal merchandise using their own credit cards. They may be criminals, but they're creative about it, and I hope when they get out of jail, they use their talents for good. And if they do, someone, seriously, should give them a job. Or maybe I'm just easily impressed, but still, who knew aluminum foil was so useful?
One of the Detroiters, 20-year-old Mario White, allegedly brought a ladder and climbed onto the roof of a United Dairy Farmers convenience store and gas station, and then he used aluminum foil to cover the store's satellite dish. Why? You'll see.
Soon after, one of White's pals, 41-year-old Tyrone Montgomery, supposedly went into the store and purchased some gift cards and odds and ends. Hopefully, he also treated himself to some ice cream (they have some of the best in the area, if you don't count Graeter's). He paid for everything, using two credit cards or possibly debit cards, depending what source you read.
Then he left.
I don't quite understand how it works, but the aluminum foil on the satellite dish partially obscures the signal that would otherwise go to the bank or credit card issuer. The information on the cards went through, making it seem as if the plastic was perfectly fine, but after Montgomery left, White removed the foil, and it's right then, or shortly after, that the credit card purchases were denied. By that time, Montgomery and White were climbing into their getaway car, driven by 42-year-old Altonio Coleman, and speeding away.
Well, they would have been speeding away, except that some undercover officers were watching, stopped them and asked if they could search the car. Coleman agreed. The police found 17 debit or credit cards and gift cards. Turns out that the three men have reportedly been pulling off this caper for quite a while.