A simple used car sale sent up red flags for West Shore RCMP officers who netted more than 1,000 pieces of stolen identity.
The investigation began on Sept. 18, when police received a complaint that a fraudulent bank draft was used to purchase a used vehicle from a dealership in Colwood. Upon investigation, officers discovered four similar purchases on Vancouver Island.
West Shore RCMP Crime Reduction Unit tracked down the vehicles and identified two suspects. Police determined that one of the vehicles was used in a break and enter in September at Adams Storage in View Royal, where eight storage lockers were reportedly broken into. Victims described the contents that included personal documents and identification cards along with valuables.
On Oct. 21 the West Shore RCMP Crime Reduction Unit executed a search warrant at a suspect’s residence in Langford. There police found contents from the storage units along with evidence of identity and bank fraud.
“Police believe the stolen personal documentation was being used to make a variety of fraudulent cards including, B.C. Identification cards, B.C. driver’s licence cards, firearms licences, status cards, credit and gift cards as well as fraudulent bank drafts and cheques. Investigators seized sophisticated equipment including credit card embossers, credit card PIN machines, heavy duty printers and computers used to create the fraudulent cards. This is a massive investigation and officers are still combing over the evidence collected as well as returning stolen items to rightful owners,” said Const. Nancy Saggar, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP.
Two suspects, a man and a woman both 30 years old, were arrested for possession of stolen property and fraud-related offences. Police expect to recommend more charges.
Police seized more than 1,000 pieces of stolen identity cards and officers on the Crime Reduction Unit have spoken to several identity theft victims identified in this investigation.
“One victim advised that they had been dealing with identity fraud for some time and have experienced financial hardships due to the fraudulent activity taking place under their name. The fraud that was committed here is in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Const. John Taylor of the West Shore RCMP Crime Reduction Unit.
For tips on protecting your identity, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.
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