The Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Special Crimes Unit has launched an investigation into what is believed to be a credit card fraud and identify theft ring. No arrests have been made in the investigation, but investigators said they’ve identified two suspects in an ongoing investigation.
Local authorities first became involved after Sulphur Springs Police were dispatched Sunday to the Hampton Inn, where workers said a pair had rented a room for two days, for Thursday and Friday. Their belongings were still in the room Saturday and Sunday. Hotel staff attempted to make contact with the pair over the weekend. When they still hadn’t collected their items or checked out Sunday, police were called.
Officers noticed an embossing machine, printer, scanner, laptop, software programs, and credit cards left in the room. They believed the equipment to be used to alter or imprint numbers and names on credit cards and make false identification, police noted Wednesday.
When the items still had not been claimed Monday, officers contacted the district attorney’s office to consult on the matter, and the case was referred to SCU. The items were considered abandoned property; officers seized it as suspected evidence related to crime.
Using hotel information and information with the abandoned items, officers identified a man and woman in connection to the property. They found the pair had been arrested Friday in Canton Friday for possession of methamphetamine. SCU investigators interviewed the pair in VanZandt County jail.
“They didn’t confess to all of this, but we believe they are suspects in ID theft and embossing many credit cards by ironing the numbers off and using equipment to make different numbers,” said SCU Lt. Harold McClure. “We got involved because we believe this has a drug nexus to it. The two suspects aren’t diabetics but had needles in among the stuff abandoned at Hampton Inn.”
Also among the abandoned items, officers found two pieces of paper with 176 numbers they believe were lists of credit card numbers stolen from other counties, and equipment that appeared to be used in an attempt to make identification with others’ names on it and make copies of IDs. The stolen IDs and credit cards are believed to be from people across North Texas, McClure said.
SCU was trying Wednesday morning to get in touch with federal officials, specifically the United States Post Office’s postal inspection division as mail fraud or tampering was suspected.
They also have other information which points to possibly a third suspect as having been involved, as well as information which could link the suspects to a similar case in Rockwall Friday, according to SCU investigators.
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