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Crime Stoppers asks for help in finding credit card thief

By Staff | Jan 23, 2013

Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help identifying a man caught on camera allegedly racking up fraudulent charges at a Lehigh Acres Wal-Mart with a credit card that had been stolen from an unlocked car parked in a home’s driveway.

The victim in this case left his wallet in his car during the late evening hours of Jan. 5 on 4th Street S.W. in Lehigh. Less than 48 hours later, he was notified by his bank that there had been some suspicious charges made on his card, and that they had stopped additional payments. The card had been used at several businesses before it was shut down. At that point, the unsuspecting victim checked his vehicle, which was still unlocked, and found that his wallet, personal identification and credit card were missing.

The crimes constitute burglary and larceny theft, officials said.

Surveillance photos from Wal Mart show a white male with dark hair and a beard using the victim’s card, officials said. Detectives now need the public’s help identifying the person caught on camera.

The suspect is most likely familiar with the Lehigh area and is believed to be driving a darker colored, newer model Hyundai Azera.

“This is another reminder for residents to take the simple step of locking their car doors, and not leaving any property of value inside their cars,” said Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers coordinator. “Many of these thieves will go from car to car, and when they find one that’s unlocked, they’re able to get in and out quickly and typically unnoticed. Not only are the victims putting their money at risk, but also their personal identification. Once your name, address, drivers license number, Social Security number and any other private information gets into the wrong hands, it can easily be parlayed into additional identity theft crimes.”

Anyone with information on the man wanted in connection with the stolen credit cards is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. Tips may also be made online at www.swflcrimestoppers.org, or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.