Police have caught up with a man allegedly using credit card numbers stolen from possibly 100 or more people throughout the Tri-Cities and the state.
Richland police arrested Shaun R. Bailey, 45, of Mountlake Terrace, as he was walking out of a Richland Walmart on Wednesday.
A loss prevention officer spotted Bailey in the store and contacted the Richland Police Department’s economic crimes officer. The officer arrested Bailey as he was leaving the store after allegedly using more stolen credit card numbers.
“There are at least 50 victims and potentially as many as 100 or more,” Richland police said.
He was booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of second-degree identity theft. He’s being held on a 72-hour investigative hold, as well as a state Department of Corrections hold.
Pasco police first asked for the public’s help identifying a man they described as slick. The man allegedly transferred stolen credit card information onto magnetic strips on dummy cards.
Richland police allege he then used the dummy cards to buy gift cards at Walmarts in the Tri-Cities, Yakima, the Lower Yakima Valley, Hermiston, Pendleton, Puyallup, Bonney Lake, Seattle and Everett.
Investigators believed he was nabbed the information using a “skimmer.” The device attaches to the front of a card reader. As the victim uses the machine, the device stores the card’s information so the crook can pick it up later.
Richland police credit the investigation’s success to the creation of an economic crimes officer position in January 2017.
“The economic crimes officer has established a thriving relationship with loss prevention personnel in Richland, Pasco, Kennewick and Sunnyside and Yakima and has ongoing conversations and information sharing regarding known theft suspects and organized retail theft rings,” said Richland police in a news release.
Officers urge people to monitor their bank accounts in case they spot unusual activity.