If you read enough about criminals who steal credit cards, you start to see a pattern. Like, they often don't have a lot of money.
OK, not exactly groundbreaking news. But maybe credit card crooks are becoming more upscale, with finer tastes and affinity for the good life. At least, the first couple stories in our monthly round up of unusual credit card crimes would make one think so.
Does anyone need a purse this expensive?
Starlett Davis, 27, from Brooklyn, was arrested for allegedly trying to buy a designer handbag with a fake credit card. She tried to buy a very real Yves Saint Laurent Bo Sac De Jour purse, valued at $3,156.50. The store's assistant manger noticed that Davis's driver's license had a different name than the one on the credit card. She was allowed to buy the purse, but the police were quickly called. According to the Patch.com site for the Millburn and ShortHills area in New Jersey, Davis evidently admitted her wrong doing, and when she was searched, four more fake credit cards, as well as seven gift cards and a piece of paper with a bank account and routing number written on it.
Cook and the crook
The charity auction site, Charitybuzz.com, put up for bid a 30 to 60 minute hour-long coffee date with Apple CEO Tim Cook, who planned on giving all of the money from the auction to the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. Well, good for him. Unfortunately, according to a slew of media outlets including MacRumors.com, someone stole a credit card and used it to bid $650,000 to meet with Cook.
That it came from a stolen credit card was discovered pretty quickly -- but one has to wonder who this thief was, and what this thief was thinking. (Sadly, no word yet on who this thief was and whether he or she was caught.) I kind of wish the bid hadn't been removed, once it was discovered that a thief had made the bid with a stolen credit card. I like the imagery of a credit card thief meeting at a restaurant or bistro with Cook and then having the police show up a few seconds later to make an arrest. But, oh well.
By the way, the winning bid to meet with Cook turned out to be $610,000; the name of whomever did actually pay over half a million dollars for a meeting with Cook has also not been revealed.
Say it ain't so
Continuing with the can't-we-trust-anyone theme that this credit card crime column often has, meet Barry Fig, a 34-year-old youth hockey coach from Bethesda, Maryland. He is also, at the time of this writing, on trial for stealing credit cards at the Kettler Capitals Ice Plex in Arlington, Virgnia. Per BethsedaNow.com, a site all about Bethesda, Maryland and the surrounding area, Fig was named the High School Hockey Coach of the Year in 2008, but things apparently have gone badly for him since then.
He has been charged with slipping into the ice rink's locker room and then rifling through the equipment bags of recreational hockey players. He then, allegedly, took their credit cards and went shopping.
Too weird not to share
So I read a lot of police blotter columns in local newspapers, and at the Rohnert Park and Cotati, California's Patch.com web site, next to a tiny, unmemorable item about someone who had their credit card number used to make $300 in purchases is a story about a woman who attacked a McDonald's employee. No credit card story to this tale, but you're not going to care: the fight was about unpaid Chicken McNuggets.
If the police account is correct, a man and woman ordered some Chicken McNuggets, and when a female cashier asked for the money, they said that they had already paid for them. I guess it was pretty busy there, and the restaurant was abuzz with activity. Apparently, the couple seized their McNuggets and left the restaurant in a huff which caused the cashier to throw a soda at the customers' car. The woman then got out, stormed into the McDonald's after the employee and beat her up. Before the police arrived, the suspects drove away -- in their BMW.
The price of being a credit card thief
This story might stop you in your tracks the next time you think to yourself, "Maybe a good career move would be to join a gang of thieves in a fake credit card operation."
Erica Shontae Walker was recently sentenced for her role in helping at least one other person steal credit cards, according to The Flint Journal. She worked as a cashier at a Walmart in Flint, Michigan, and at least 15 different times, she sold gift cards to a man who bought them with a slew of fake credit cards. Usually the cards would be rejected, and the man would ask Walker to type in a new credit card number until one would go through. Her reward for her help in carrying out these crimes? She was given almost $5,000 in gift cards.
The bad news for Walker is, now that she has been caught, arrested, tried and convicted, along with two years probation, a court ordered her to pay almost $70,000. I haven't checked, but presumably she has been fired from Walmart, which is a good thing for her, since she'll need to find a better paying job than working as a cashier at Walmart to pay that $70,000 bill.