Upper Arlington News

Authorities seek help in catching credit card thief

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The Upper Arlington Police Division and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office are asking for help in catching a person they believe stole credit cards from two area businesses this spring and used them to purchase $600 in prepaid credit cards.

Several months after two incidents in which personal credit cards were stolen from employees at an Upper Arlington toy store and an office supply store in Clinton Township, Upper Arlington police and Franklin County sheriff's officials have yet to track down the suspect.

According to the sheriff's office, the first incident occurred March 15, when an unidentified man slipped into an employee break room at Larson's Toys in the Lane Avenue Shopping Center and stole a credit card from a woman's purse.

The man then used the card to purchase three, $100 Visa gift cards at a nearby Speedway gas station.

Investigators believe the same man struck again April 1, when he entered the break room at Staples at Lennox Town Center in Clinton Township and again took a credit card from a woman's purse. He then used that credit card to purchase three, $100 Visa gift cards from a nearby CVS.

Franklin County Chief Deputy Sheriff Rick Minerd said his office has surveillance images of the suspect from both locations where the cards were taken. They linked the gift card purchases to the stolen credit cards.

"We haven't gotten any good leads, but we have decent-quality videos," Minerd said. "It's just a matter of finding someone out there that can identify him.

"We're just looking for somebody to recognize him and be able to provide some more information."

According to the sheriff's office, the suspect is a black man, approximately 5-feet, 7-inches tall to 5-feet, 9-inches tall. He's also described as being 40 to 50 years old and having an "overweight belly."

He was wearing black sunglasses and a black jacket at the time of the thefts, and was carrying a black handbag or purse.

Minerd said his office is seeking to pursue charges of felony theft and receiving stolen property against the suspect.

Although the thefts resulted in losses of less than a total of $1,000, Minerd said law enforcement officials want to catch the culprit because credit card thefts have a significant effects on victims' quality of life.

He also noted many people don't report those types of thefts to law enforcement, opting instead to let banks and credit card companies address the fallout.

"We just have these two here we're able to connect, but that's not to say this guy's not responsible for more of these types of thefts," Minerd said. "That kind of stuff happens all the time and we don't get the information.

"Do I think there are more out there? Yeah, I think this individual probably has been out there involved in other of these types of incidents."

Anyone with information about the man is asked to contact the Franklin County Sheriff's Office at (614) 525-3351, or the Upper Arlington Police Division at (614) 583-5150.

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