In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Aug. 13, the Glendale Police Dept. – Financial Crimes Unit executed search warrants on a ring of identity theft suspects. Over the last several months, an investigation of nine locations and nine suspects was conducted in cooperation with Orange County Sheriff’s Department, LASD – Identity Theft Task Force, Los Angeles Police Dept., California Attorney General’s Office, and United States Secret Service. The warrant searches on the morning of Aug. 13 resulted in the arrest of seven suspects, with three remaining outstanding.
The identity theft investigation began in January 2013 when Glendale officers conducted a traffic stop on a 2011 BMW with tinted windows. Officers recognized the passenger of the vehicle as a person of interest for identity theft by the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. Their investigation has been ongoing since June of 2011.
The traffic stop investigation resulted in the arrest of two suspects for possession of re-encoded credit cards. They were later released pending further investigation. Subsequently, members of the Financial Crimes Unit conducted a joint investigation with federal, state, county and local agencies over the next several months.
The investigation revealed that suspects installed credit card skimming devices on gasoline pumps in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas, stealing victims’ credit card information. All crimes involve identity theft, possession of access card information and conspiracy to commit such acts. Seized during the investigation were credit card skimmers, computers, components to en-code blank cards, guns, methamphetamine, marijuana, approximately $60,000 in cash and two trucks holding bladder tanks to purchase gas at stations with the re-encoded cards stolen from victims.