Friday, August 17, 2007

Credit Card Thefts Becoming a Trend at Florida

The Frat Boy News daily campus police report for the Weekend:

University of Florida (compiled by Lise Fisher,

Burglars are using credit cards stolen from purses and wallets left in vehicles, and they have targeted parking lots in Gainesville and on the University of Florida campus, police said Thursday.

Detectives from three area police departments met Thursday to share information about a series of vehicle burglaries and credit card thefts that appear to be related.

The thefts date back over the past few weeks. The most recent occurred over the weekend in Alachua.

Officers believe a group of thieves is looking for vehicles where motorists have left purses and wallets inside, said Alachua Police Detective Darry Lloyd. Once they spot a target, they break into the vehicle, take the belongings and then immediately use the stolen credit cards at area stores to purchase hundreds of dollars in gift cards.

Most of the gift cards have been bought at CVS and Walgreen stores as well as at the Oaks Mall, Lloyd said.

In the Alachua theft case, the credit card owner discovered about an hour after the vehicle burglary occurred that approximately $1,500 had been charged on the stolen credit card.

The scam may not be limited to Alachua County. Lloyd said officers have tracked some purchases involving the scam to South Florida.

Several burglaries have occurred in Gainesville, said Lt. Keith Kameg with the Gainesville Police Department.

Five vehicle burglaries July 21 near the Bat House at the UF campus also were broken into and appear to have been targeted as part of the scam, said UF Police Detective David Taylor.

Officers have released photos of two men, seen using the stolen credit cards, at stores in the hopes employees at local businesses may recognize the pair.

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