Police urge residents to use caution following rash of credit card theft
Online Staff Report
Over the past several months, detectives from the Rockford Police Department have been investigating a series of thefts that have resulted in the use of stolen credit cards.
Victims have had their purses or wallets stolen while dining in local restaurants or shopping in local grocery stores. Many of the incidents have occurred at locations that offer free Wi-Fi services or other locations where patrons are distracted by other activities.
The suspects have also targeted female shoppers who place their purses in shopping carts and then direct their attention toward shopping activities.
Typically within minutes of the theft, credit cards contained in the stolen purse or wallet are used at local retail establishments to purchase a large number of gift cards or prepaid credit cards. Many times, the stolen credit cards are used before the victim realizes they have been stolen.
Usually on the same day, and within hours of the theft, the gift card or prepaid credit cards are used at retailers in the greater Chicago area to purchase merchandise.
The description of the suspect(s) varies from incident to incident; however, investigators have been able to obtain several surveillance videos of the suspects. Several still photos obtained from those videos are included below.
Detectives are asking anyone with information about these incidents to contact the Rockford Police Department at (815) 987-5824 or Crime Stoppers at (815) 963-7867.
Members of the community are also reminded to maintain control of all personal items when in a public setting. Wallets and purses should not be left unattended in shopping carts or hung on the backs of chairs while dining. In addition, the Rockford Police Department recommends individuals check with their specific financial institutions to explore other security options for their credit/debit cards.
Posted Jan. 23, 2013
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