String of I.D. thefts strikes FL subdivision

Toll from fraud case nears $100K for 14 victims in Summerfield development

An informational meeting is set for next Thursday, Sept. 20, regarding a string of identity thefts reported from residents of the Summerfield subdivision. (Photo by Clint Riese)

 

Clint Riese
News Editor

The Forest Lake Police Department last week used its Code Red system to alert residents in a Forest Lake subdivision of a lengthy string of identity thefts.

As of Tuesday, 14 residents of the Summerfield development have reported a combined loss of nearly $100,000. Capt. Greg Weiss said the perpetrator has likely stopped, but there may be victims who do not yet know that they have been frauded.

Police will host an informational meeting tonight, Sept. 20 at the Hardwood Creek Library, 19955 Forest Blvd. N. Summerfield residents are strongly encouraged to attend. FLPD detectives Darren McDonald and Ashley LaValle will present information about the thefts, tips for theft prevention and resources for those who have been victimized.

The identity thief obtained victims’ credit card information. Police believe the theft took place in an electronic manner, said Weiss, noting that one victim has a local address but resides overseas. The stolen information was used on purchases within the United States, which Weiss said is one positive for victims, as that leaves the door open to the possibility of recovering the funds.

Residents in the Summerfield area, which is near Fenway Avenue and the airport in southern Forest Lake, are encouraged to check their credit report to ensure their identity has not been compromised.

Forest Lake police are working with the FBI on theories as to the close proximity of the victims.

“We don’t know the connection 100 percent yet,” Weiss said.

The first report of fraud came to police two weeks ago. By last Thursday, eight victims had come forth.

“It’s blown up pretty quick,” Weiss said.

Those seeking more information about Thursday’s meeting can contact detective LaValle at (651) 209-9919 or 432@flpd.com.

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