WESTLAKE, Ohio - Police in Westlake and Akron are looking for thieves who allegedly stole credit cards and went on shopping sprees.
Police said a woman's Discover card was stolen from her van parked at the Westlake Recreation Center. Later that day, the card was used to charge more than $14,000 in products at four Best Buy stores and one Apple store.
The woman doesn’t remember if she left her car unlocked, but there was no forced entry.
“Either there is a scout watching the parking lot watching people coming and going or they know where to look,” Westlake Police Lt. Ray Arcuri said.
Authorities said the alleged thief bought a 15-inch Apple MacBook at one store, and it's believed the same purchase was made in the other transactions.
Police are asking for your information identifying the woman in the picture above. Westlake police can be reached at (440) 871-3311.
Westlake police are also talking to Avon Lake police as a similar crime happened around the same time. Authorities are checking to see if the suspect is the same or related.
Akron credit card investigation
Akron police are also looking for suspects in a shopping spree there. Police say a woman’s home was burglarized on Davies Street. When she confronted the man, he pulled out a gun and ran off with a computer and wallet.
Police say the stolen credit card was later used at three stores in a shopping plaza on South Arlington Street.
Tips to protect your money
To protect your credit cards, never leave them in a place where they can be stolen. Also, write CID on the back. That's short for See ID. It means the cashier needs to ask for your identification before the purchase is complete, something that can prevent a thief from using your credit card. Typically, if you don't sign your card the cashier will ask for your ID.
“If the store is not diligent in checking the ID, you know out of courtesy, this is what happens. They get away with it until we get them,” Arcuri said.
You should also keep track of your transactions with online banking. If you notice fraudulent charges, report them immediately. If you report them in time, you typically won't be responsible for the charges.
Credit cards typically give you more protection than a debit card because the money is not instantly pulled from your account with credit.
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