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Credit card theft FAIL: 3 ways not to steal a credit card

Written by Geoff Williams
Posted On: March 20, 2012

If you're unlucky enough to have your credit card stolen, let's hope the thief is like one of these three inept crooks, so you get your card right back.

Caught at the convenience store

In Lancaster, Pa., a teenager recently attempted to pull off what normally might have been a successful garden-variety credit card crime. Instead, things went horribly wrong -- for him -- according to a story in the Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster's paper of record.

By his own admission, Joshua Devonshire, 19, broke into a car in the dead of night and found several credit cards that were not his. After stealing the credit cards (and it's never a good idea to leave credit cards in your car, but I'll spare everyone the lecturing right now), Devonshire quickly made his way to a nearby Turkey Hill Minit Market. From his point of view, so far, so good.

When he tried to use the stolen card to pay for some gas, he received a message to see the store's clerk. In his situation it probably wasn't a great idea to go inside, but he did.

He handed the card over to the clerk, who eyed it and then gave Devonshire another look. Here's where things started to get really bad for him.

The clerk recognized the credit card. It was her mother's.

She also recognized Devonshire. They had gone to high school together.

The clerk brought all of this up to Devonshire, who tried to give a logical explanation why he had her mom's card, failed miserably, and then as the clerk started calling the police, he tore out of the store and ran for his car.

After calling the police, the clerk called her mother, who went out to check her car and found a young man -- she believes it was Devonshire -- near her vehicle. He sprinted off. Police later theorized that Devonshire was trying to return the stolen cards.

Later that morning, police were called into a nearby neighborhood to check on the theft of a diamond ring and professional hair cutting tools. Not long after, they found Devonshire and a young woman asleep in a car.

"Not to make light of this," Sgt. Jim Alexander told the Intelligencer Journal, "but really, this entire incident was a comedy of errors. Some people just aren't cut out to be criminals."

Spied leaving a note

A teacher at Marietta High School in Marietta, Ga., discovered her credit card was stolen. As far as things go, that isn't all that unusual, unfortunately. We've covered in this space several instances of thieves sneaking into schools and stealing credit cards from teachers' wallets and purses.

But in this case, a student is accused of stealing the card. What's more, she left a written apology on the teacher's desk.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Britshonna Lashaun Patterson, 17, was taken into police custody earlier this week for allegedly taking her teacher's wallet on Feb. 28. She didn't sign her name to the note, but a fellow teacher noticed Patterson hunched over her teacher's desk writing something on a piece of paper shortly before the crime was reported.

I admit, I can't summon any snark here. It's an interesting story worth sharing, but instead of buying video games and expensive electronic equipment, the way most credit card thieves do, Patterson used the credit cards to buy items from the school's vending machines. Then she bought groceries. You can't help but think that maybe this was a cry for help. Of course, actually asking for help would have been a better way to go.

Spotted returning to the scene of the crime

About two weeks ago, reports the Lincoln Journal Star, someone purchased a fuel pump and some antifreeze with a stolen credit card at an auto supply shop in Lincoln, Neb.

Chances are, that might have been that, a petty crime successfully executed. Instead, Terry Carlisle, 51, is now sitting in a jail cell for his alleged crime.

You see, it wasn't just any credit card that Carlisle allegedly stole. He allegedly paid for his purchase with the credit card belonging to a former mayor of Lincoln, Don Wesely. So this particular theft likely made quite an impression on the owner of the auto parts store.

Still, Carlisle probably would have been free only for one thing. Two weeks after using the stolen credit card, evidently thinking he was in the clear and that nobody knew what he had done, Carlisle went back to the same auto supply shop to try and return the fuel pump for store credit.

Surprise, surprise, not only did the store owner understand what was happening, he ended up following Carlisle back to his address -- and then calling the cops on him.

 

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