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Police want your help to catch habitual credit card thieves

CLIVE, Iowa -

Police in Clive and Prairie City are looking for two people who are prolific identity thieves and steal credit cards the old fashioned way.

There are many warnings about different ways criminals can assume your identity, but in these metro cases, the thieves are simply taking from people who leave their credit cards where they shouldn't.

Police said the pair has been using the cards at retailers around the metro for the last several months.

Investigators have released screen shots taken from security cameras at a metro Target, which is one of several stores from where a man and woman have stolen thousands of dollars of electronics with stolen credit cards.

A Clive woman was working out at the Aspen Athletic Club in Clive when she got a call from her credit card company alerting her to the purchase of thousands of dollars of merchandise from Best Buy.

She stopped her workout and canceled her credit card before they tried to use her card at Target, where her card was denied. Surveillance cameras at the health club showed the couple outside the woman's car in the parking lot a half-hour later.

A detective with Clive police said it shouldn't be so easy for thieves to use a stolen credit card, especially for expensive electronics. Sgt. Vern Lukehart of the Clive Police Department said there should be more vigilance

at the checkout counter.

“What retailers can do when there's a large purchase is they could ask for photo ID, and see if the ID actually matches the credit card. In this instance, the person was not ID’d so the credit card was automatically used,” Lukehart said.

Prairie City police are investigating a similar case and contacted Clive police after seeing the pictures of the suspects. Prairie City police believe a Prairie City woman's car was broken into at the Walnut Creek YMCA in West Des Moines.

She didn't find out her cards were missing for hours, which allowed the pair to make multiple purchases at Target, Best Buy and the Apple Store. The purchases were made with no resistance or questions at the register.

The man is described as age 25-35 with facial hair and wears a ball cap.  The woman is age 30-40 and wears athletic wear and a ball cap.

They are driving a newer sliver or gray Chevy Traverse, police said.

One change coming soon that should help protect consumers from credit card theft is the disappearance of magnetic strips on the backs of cards.

By the end of next year, 70 percent of U.S. credit cards will have security chips instead, which will require a signature or pin number to complete the purchase.

Anyone with information on this case can call Lukehart at 515-278-1512.

Category: Credit

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