Credit card crime blog: When you take communion, take your credit card
Written by Geoff Williams
Posted On: August 12, 2011
Oh. My. God.
A lot of people give money to their church, but this isn't what anyone has in mind.
Boston.com reports that Marie Carnegie, 42, who lives in the Boston area, allegedly stole a pocketbook and a cell phone, and then, two hours later, went credit card shopping at a TJ Maxx. Blatantly criminal, of course, but what's so shocking or interesting about that?
She allegedly picked up the pocketbook from a church pew while the owner was getting communion.
The owner had left it behind on the bench, which, as Catholics know, is a fairly common practice. I mean, you tend to leave your coat, your purse, whatever… You tend to think when you're inside a church, your belongings are pretty safe. A couple months ago in this column we established that you shouldn't leave credit cards in your car when you're parked at church--two women in the Indianapolis area had demonstrated that--but, yeah, even when you're inside a church surrounded by your fellow friends and neighbors, your wallet shouldn't be left alone.
Still, it was awfully brazen of Carnegie, if in fact she is found guilty. I mean, right in front of all those people who might have seen her, and surely the Big Guy Upstairs was watching.
Treat your wait staff nicely
Sometimes you'll hear of a vindictive waiter spitting in an entree before serving it to an obnoxious customer, and I guess here's another reason to treat your server as kindly as you can. They may rob you blind.
That's what Kathryn Shana'e Perez, a waitress at the Mugs N Jugs in Port Richey, Fla., is accused of doing to some customers who were particularly demanding.
WTSP.com reports that Perez, 25, started her own little credit card counterfeiting ring. She used a skimming device for about a month on some of her customers. Not all of them. Just about nine who she said made her run around endlessly, presumably to fetch items or return food that they claimed wasn't quite right.
And so she skimmed their credit cards and passed off the information to her 25-year-old cousin, Brandon Quileen, who then made credit cards and gave them to his 22-year-old girlfriend, Rebecca Pixton, who reportedly purchased more than $5,000 worth of merchandise from Radio Shacks and Walmarts in the area, then resold them for cash.
I will say, I was a waiter during summers between college, and I remember getting stiffed a few times. Even almost 20 years later, I'm thinking about this one jerk who came in with his wife and six kids, ordered a big meal and left me nothing. It's a tough job. But, no, I'm not defending stealing from your customers. And, no, I never spit in anyone's food.
Why their low prices aren't even lower
According to WABC-TV, six people were arrested in Uniondale, N.Y., on suspicion of defrauding Walmart. Four of them were Walmart employees.
The thieves allegedly used a skimming device to steal credit card information, which was then re-encoded onto magnetic strips on gift cards, which two men used at a Walmart to buy electronics and other items, with the help of the aforementioned four employees. It was a significant crime--Walmart wound up losing $125,000 and Citibank, $100,000.
It was Walmart security personnel who broke the case, inviting police to help them catch the thieves. Hopefully those security people are getting some raises because not all security personnel are forthright and ethical, as you'll see with this next story.
C'mon, even border patrol agents?
Granted, this would be a better story if this guy had been searching the car at the border when he allegedly lifted the credit cards, but we'll go with what we have.
According to the Douglas Dispatch, an off-duty border patrol agent was arrested for stealing a purse from a woman's blue Nissan Sentra at a Chevron gas station in Douglas, Ariz. To the woman's credit, the purse wasn't just lying there on the seat but was more hidden, on the floor of the car. Then the agent, Teofilo Rodarte, allegedly made off to a Walmart (yes, poor Walmart seems to be the favorite store of credit card crooks), where he went on a little shopping spree.
Store surveillance cameras caught Rodarte's image, however, and the next day when he showed up for work, he was questioned and soon after, he admitted his guilt. I don't know what he bought, or his story or reasoning behind making purchases with a stolen credit card, but during the course of eight different transactions, he only stole about $231 worth of merchandise. Not that that's nothing, but considering he has thrown away his career, his integrity and his trust among his fellow border agents, I wonder if he feels to have offset all of that, he should have stolen a little bit more?
I know, don't put ideas in people's heads.