Caught on Camera: LA Credit Card Thieves May Be Connected to Community of Criminals

Police said the stolen credit card was swiped by different people within an hour

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    NEWSLETTERS

    For the first time, exclusive video captures a couple trying to use a stolen credit card. Police say this is not the first time thieves tried to use the card. Hetty Chang reports from San Pedro for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. (Published Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013)

    Surveillance video obtained by NBC4 Tuesday shows two people who may be part of what Los Angeles police described as a community of criminals who steal and then share credit cards.

    The footage taken at a Wal-Mart store in Torrance on Oct. 19 shows a male and female pull up in an older model Honda Accord. They are later seen leaving the store after trying to use a stolen credit that was declined, Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Division detectives said.

    About 45 minutes earlier, detectives said the same credit card was swiped by a different person at a gas station in San Pedro.

    "They use the card -- the victim's card -- at this gas station," Detective Don Eldridg, with LAPD's Harbor Division, said. "And then it was used at Walmart an hour later, but the suspects clearly are different."

    The credit card had been stolen during a residential burglary in the 100 block of N. Cabrillo Avenue in San Pedro that afternoon, detectives said.

    While police do not believe these crimes are part of a ring of burglars, they do believe these criminals are working together.

    "I don't think they are a ring of professional burglars," Eldridge said. "I think they're more like a community of criminals who all know each other, and they steal things and pass it around."

    Because the culprits passed the stolen credit card around, detectives said it's unclear who originally obtained it.

    Police encourage residents to look out for each other, especially as the holiday season approaches.

    "Neighbors always have to look out for each other," Eldridge said. "You see a strange person, call the police.

    "We've had several cases where the neighbors did see something strange, profoundly strange, still didn't call the police, and then their neighbor's residence was burglarized. You just have to keep an eye out."

    Anyone with information about these cases is urged to contact Detective Don Eldridge at 310-726-7853.

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