A man and a woman from Oswego County were jailed Thursday in Watertown, accused of using a stolen credit card to go on a pre-Christmas shopping spree, according to the Jefferson County Sheriffs Department.
A detective said the arrests could be the beginning of a multiagency investigation along the East Coast involving the creation of credit cards using stolen personal information. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been contacted, the detective said.
Nathan L. Howard, 25, and Ashley N. Perlmutter, 23, both of 11 Beaverdam Brook Drive, Williamstown, were arraigned before town of Watertown Justice David A. Renzi and committed to the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building on $25,000 bail each.
They both face charges in Watertown Town Court of fourth-degree grand larceny, second- and third-degree identity theft and petit larceny. Mr. Howard also faces charges in City Court of second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal impersonation, third-degree identity theft and petit larceny, while Miss Perlmutter faces counts of third-degree identity theft and petit larceny. Justice Renzi set bail on the City Court matters at $25,000 for Mr. Howard and $5,000 for Miss Perlmutter.
On Dec. 21, the pair allegedly used a credit card stolen from Candace N. Haygood, who lives in Texas, to make $1,137.13 in purchases at Walmart Supercenter on Route 3 in the town of Watertown, $419.20 in purchases at Target on Route 3 and $34.01 in purchases at Buffalo Wild Wings, 1290 Arsenal St.
They were apprehended about 5 p.m. Wednesday after store security at Walmart recognized them from a photo that was distributed as part of an ongoing investigation. State troopers assisted in locating the suspects.
The forgery and impersonation charges against Mr. Howard stem from allegations that he identified himself as Daniel Griffin Howard while being booked Thursday into the PSB.
Mr. Howard, who is being represented by a public defender, also faces arraignment today in County Court as a fugitive from justice, wanted in Adams County, Colo., on charges of money laundering, theft, forgery, identity theft and possession of identity theft tools.
A preliminary hearing for both is scheduled for Wednesday. Miss Perlmutter also has been assigned counsel.
Detective David J. Pustizzi said in a press release that the two were found to have been receiving credit card information through an unconfirmed source that, along with computer equipment, was used to clone credit cards.
In addition to making purchases with the cards, they used them to obtain cash, he said.
As is the case with the Haygood card, the identity thefts apparently victimized people outside this region, he said, but anybody local who suspects he or she is a victim of this scam should call the Sheriffs Department at 788-1441.
Mr. Pustizzi declined to reveal whether any credit cards were seized with the arrests.