Welcome, once again, to another look at the latest in unusual credit card crimes.
The zookeepers were busy watching the animals
But maybe they should have been watching their wallets.
At the Blank Park Zoo, in Des Moines, Iowa, someone charged $20,000 in purchases to the zoo's Sam's Club credit card. Whoever did it, they were in Chicago and used it between May 21 and May 26. Zoo officials discovered the theft when they received their credit card statement.
The zoo was told by their credit card company that they will be reimbursed, and meanwhile the police are on the case, according to the Des Moines Register.
There are no persons of interest, according to the authorities, but maybe that's the problem. Perhaps the sheriff and deputies shouldn't be looking for people. A couple readers, in the comments section on DesMoinesRegister.com, speculated that the authorities should be on the lookout for the penguins or possibly the shifty snow monkeys.
A shoo-in for this column
According to News4Jax.com, the web site for WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Florida, the sheriff's office is currently looking for a Dashawn Riverlino Duvivier, who is currently wanted on a warrant for a burglary. That in itself isn't unusual, but this is a 15-year-old boy.
OK, that isn't all that unusual either in this day and age. I'd have to be telling you about maybe a three-year-old burglar before anyone would be all that surprised. Even then, I'm not so sure.
But what is a bit unusual about this story is the 15-year-old's fondness for shoes. Duvivier has allegedly been stealing credit cards and mostly purchasing shoes. A lot of them. In one case, he purchased $1,500 worth of footwear.
By the way, this kid has been stealing credit cards out of cars. Just as a public service announcement, hiding your credit card in a car isn't a smart plan. Can we all just agree that we're going to stop doing that? Along those lines, and I may have mentioned this in this space before, but my younger brother learned how foolish it is to leave money in your car a little over twenty years ago when we were high school students working at an amusement park. He left a twenty dollar bill lying on the passenger seat of his car.
Fortunately, some concerned, thoughtful park guest decided to teach him a valuable life lesson by smashing his window with a rock and taking the twenty dollar bill. In case that thief is out there reading this, lesson learned. You can send the $20 back now.
Drinking and stealing credit cards don't mix
Also not a smart plan: stealing a credit card. We can probably all agree with that -- but when you filch one and then use it to go out drinking, it's a really stupid plan because your odds of getting caught get better and better while your judgment gets worse and worse.
According to the Patch.com site for Fairfax, Virginia, on May 27, at 10:01 p.m., a man called the police to report that he realized he had left his credit card at a local business. He could see that someone was using it at the Red Zone Grill bar, and so the police dutifully went to the bar to check things out. Two suspects were identified but one apparently had his wits about him enough that he had left before the police arrived.
The other was still there at the bar, I imagine with a drink in one hand and the stolen credit in the other. However it went down, the credit card thief was caught and informed that he had a pair of designated drivers who would happily drive him to a place where he could sleep it off: jail.
Using cell phones from cells
Frequently, many stories in this monthly column end with the credit card crook going off to jail, like in the last anecdote, and that's that.
But not always. On Jekyll Island in Georgia, according to FirstCoastNews.com, a web site that covers the Jacksonville, Florida area, of which Jekyll Island is a part of, tourists have been victims of credit card fraud, and the criminals going after them are residents of Georgia state prisons.
Inmates have been using phones that have been smuggled into prisons, and the prisoners are stealing credit cards over the phone.
Four successful credit card thefts, so far, have been linked to prisoners.
At least six attempts have occurred at hotels in the Jekyll Island area. The guests have received phone calls and have been told that there was a mix-up with their credit card at the hotel, and the hotel needed to confirm credit card information. At least one guest was told that if he or she didn't furnish their credit card number on the spot, the guest would be escorted off the premises. Ironically, this threat may have come from a caller who wasn't allowed to leave the building he was in.
Police are still trying to find out who made some of the other phone calls. My money is on the penguins.