Vacuum cleaner salesman steals credit card and other strange stories.

By , CardRatings contributor
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Once again, the latest in odd credit card crimes

In dust we don't trust

Members of the public, especially if you live in or near Sturgis, Mich., should be on the lookout for a wanted vacuum cleaner salesman. I'm not sure if he's armed and dangerous, but I suspect he is very clean.

As MLive.com (Michigan Live) reports, on Nov. 30, a vacuum cleaner salesman was inside a potential client's home, showing off a vacuum cleaner, when he asked to use the restroom. The female homeowner told the salesman where it was, and he went to use the facilities, but not before quietly snatching the woman's purse from another room. There, in the bathroom, he stuffed the purse under the sink and took the woman's Social Security card, approximately $250 in cash and two credit cards.

He finished the vacuum cleaning demonstration but failed to make a sale. Then he bid the woman farewell and left with his vacuum cleaner and her cash and cards.

A few observations. The only thing that would have made this story so much better is if the guy had used the vacuum cleaner to vacuum up the woman's purse and fine jewels. That would have been just perfect.

If we can't trust a vacuum cleaner salesman, who can we trust? OK, a vacuum cleaner salesman isn't on the same plane as a priest, a cop or a teacher, but still, the country has a rich history, going back to the Fuller Brush Man, of inviting salesmen into our homes. It's kind of sad that this salesman didn't respect this bond between salesperson and customer.

In his defense, I do love a burger

The Morning Call, the paper for Allentown, Pa., has a fun little story about four thieves who robbed a convenience store and made away with a lottery money bag and some purses belonging to employees.

They might have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for the appetite of one of the robbers, a 17-year-old named Christian Ramirez. The same weekend they broke into the convenience store, Ramirez drove his posse to a McDonald's. Fortunately, they didn't break into the fast food joint or go in there with guns blazing and barking out orders to give them a bunch of Big Macs. No, they bought their food the legal way, with a stolen credit card.

Baby steps.

Well, thanks to Ramirez and his pals' hunger for McDonald's (sadly, no word on what they ordered), the cops later saw that one of the stolen credit cards (from the employees' purses) had been used at the Golden Arches. They pulled up the surveillance video and found the license plate to Ramirez's vehicle. He and at least two of his friends were caught and are now presumably waiting to hear what a judge is going to say.

Yet another reason not to get into credit card crime

Not that I have any desire to become a credit card thief, but if I were a career criminal, and I read the following tale, I think I'd throw my hands up and quit the business. It's just getting harder and harder to be a crook in this day and age and go about your business undetected.

Brian M. Bromberek, 29, a Milwaukee resident, was arrested after visiting a bar in Madison, Wisc. He apparently noticed that a woman was dancing late on a Saturday night (actually early Sunday morning), and her coat and purse were on a table or chair, with nobody watching. Nobody but Bromberek, that is.

It's alleged that he took the woman's $500 iPhone and her credit card and then slipped out of the bar.

He didn't notice that a bar patron noticed him stealing the phone and card, or that the patron took a couple photos of the crime on his cellphone.

He also didn't notice that the witness he had left behind was following him down the street. That is, until the witness found a police officer to show the photos to.

Bromberek was arrested, before he could use his stolen credit card and probably even before he could use his new iPhone to update his status on Facebook. All because some guy with a camera in his cellphone decided to be a hero. It's getting tougher and tougher to be a crook these days.

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