On April 7, 2017 at approximately 6:45 p.m., Winchester Police Department (WPD) officers responded to 1850 Apple Blossom Drive for reports of someone using a stolen credit card to buy jewelry. The victim, a 31-year-old man from another state, received a notification on his cellphone that his credit card had just been used to make a $631 purchase at Kay Jewelers. He called the store, then immediately called police.
When questioned by WPD officers, an employee at Kay Jewelers confirmed a man made a purchase a few minutes earlier in the amount of $631 and provided a description. Shortly thereafter, the victim received another alert that that a purchase was made at PacSun, also located inside the Apple Blossom Mall, and reported it to WPD.
During the investigation, a loss prevention officer from another store provided officers with a description of a possible suspect vehicle: a white Hyundai four-door car with Washington D.C. tags. A short time later, a Winchester Police patrol officer spotted the suspect vehicle in the parking lot of 655 East Jubal Early Drive (Toys-R-Us). One man was taken into custody immediately. Another was arrested after he was located in the bathroom of the store.
Daniel Damiba, 25, faces a total of ten felony charges including credit card forgery, credit card fraud, identity theft and larceny, in connection with the purchases at Kay Jewelers and PacSun. Officers connected the other suspect, Abdoulaye Thiam, 27, to a fraudulent purchase from Shaw’s Jewelers that occurred around the same time. He’s accused of using a stolen credit card to purchase two watches totaling $687. Thiam faces eight total charges including credit card forgery, credit card fraud and identity fraud. Both men are from Maryland and are being held without bond at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.
Officers believe additional items purchased at Sears and Ross were also obtained fraudulently. Officers were able to recover and return all items to the five retail stores.
A growing number credit card companies and banks now offer free transaction alerts through email or text messages. Consumers usually need to “opt in” for these services and can sign-up online. The Winchester Police Department recommends residents check with their financial institution to see if that service is provided.
The Department offers these additional tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft:
- Check your bank accounts and credit card statements regularly.
- Report any suspicious activity on your card immediately. Most major banks have a 100% guarantee on purchases and will refund fraudulent charges once an investigation is complete.
- Notify your card company when you’ll be traveling or changing residences.
- Never lend your credit card to anyone.
- Always destroy receipts by using a shredder or cutting them into small pieces. Never leave receipts lying around.
- Do not give your number out over the phone unless you initiated the transaction and you know the company is reputable.
- Change your passwords regularly.