Wookiee wanted in connection with credit card crimes

Written by Geoff Williams
Posted On: March 7, 2014

There are some amazingly mean and surreal crimes in our latest look at unusual credit card crimes, so we'll get right to it.

In a galaxy far, far away…

You're probably familiar with malware by now: you click on a link that some evil hacker sent you, and suddenly your computer is infected -- although often, you don't even know it right away. Your computer works slower than normal. A strange ad or two pops up on your screen. And then suddenly you realize you have a computer that barely functions -- or in the worst of the worst of malware, your bank account information and other personal information is stolen.

Well, there's a point-of-sale malware program out there that everyone's calling ChewBacca, named after the furry sidekick of Han Solo's in "Star Wars." If you're going to take on a character from this iconic franchise while stealing from people, why use everyone's favorite Wookiee when Darth Vader or the Emperor would have been much more fitting?

And just like in the movies…

You know how in the movies and TV, and occasionally in real life, some unfortunate pregnant woman can't make it to the hospital in time, and the delivery has to occur in a car or an elevator or some other unappealing place? Well, according to the Camrbidge News, in Cambridge, England, a woman was in her car after a shopping trip when a man -- described as being of Eastern European origin -- came running up to her. The man shouted that his wife was having a baby, and he needed the woman's help.

His wife was already at the hospital, so no worries there, but he needed to get there and was lost, so he asked if the woman could figure out how to type the local hospital into his GPS system.

She tried to, unsuccessfully, not paying attention to the man's friend nearby. Upon returning to her car, she realized her purse had been emptied of its cash and her credit cards. Nice.

Kicking someone when they are down

Nobody wants their credit card nabbed for two reasons -- you don't want to lose money, and you don't want your identity stolen.

Add a third reason: You don't particularly want your car taken either.

Your heart has to go out to Laurie Bartunek, of West Jordan, Utah. According to the Deseret News, she had just returned to her truck after visiting her son's gravesite and discovered the door was open. Her purse? Nowhere to be seen.

That was disturbing enough, but when she got home, her blue Hyundai Elantra was also nowhere to be seen.

The crook had used her identification to locate her house and then took her car keys, which had been in the purse, and drove away. (So to play detective for a moment, he -- or she? -- must have had an accomplice. To get back to the Bartunek residence fast enough, the two would have had to drive there -- and then one would have taken the getaway vehicle, and the other, Ms. Bartunek's car.)

So the takeaway lessons this month for everyone are:

  • Chewbacca, at least, on the Internet, may not be the stand-up Wookiee you thought he was.
  • Don't leave your purse or other valuable belongings in an unoccupied car, no matter where you are or who you think you're helping.

Thanks a lot, criminals.

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