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Crime Report: Victim suspects sister opened credit card to pay for heating and air conditioning work

Jan. 8

Burglary (vehicle) and theft by access card: 4100 block of Hampstead Road. A woman reported that at about 4 p.m. on Jan. 6 she parked her Honda Pilot in her driveway. She remembers clearly locking the car, as she was leaving a costly saddle inside it. She also left her purse in the car, after stowing it underneath the driver's seat and out of view.

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Early the next morning, Jan. 7, she drove the car to a riding stable, where she then gave her horse a workout. She returned home at 8:45 a.m. that day. About 15 minutes later, she received a call from Wells Fargo advising her that there had been suspicious activity on her debit card, with it being successfully used at one Burbank business but declined at two other Burbank sites.

Her stolen purse was a leather Isabella Fiore bag that, along with the Wells Fargo debit card, contained an American Airlines MasterCard, Merrill Lynch personal checks, a California driver's license, miscellaneous paperwork and photographs.

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Jan. 9

Attempted theft by false pretenses: 2100 block of La Cañada Crest Drive. A woman made a report of suspected elder abuse. She said that someone had gained access to her her bank account and had attempted to withdraw money. She said that on Jan. 5 she made a bank deposit by phone. She then checked her balance and noticed there was a pending automated clearing house check transaction on her account.

She notified a teller by phone that she did not authorize that transaction. She was told that someone using a name (not specified in the crime report) had initiated the transaction. The victim then noticed a second pending check transaction on her account. Again, she learned it had been initiated by someone who gave the bank yet another name.

She was told that her account number and routing number would have had to be used in order to complete the suspicious transactions. She said she did not know anyone by those names, nor had she authorized anyone to make such transactions using her account.

Jan. 11

Attempted unauthorized use of account information and mail theft: 2000 block of Orchard Lane. A woman summoned assistance regarding a petty theft. When a Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station deputy responded, the victim asked him to speak to a Glendale Police Department officer who then was on the line of the victim's cellphone.

The sheriff's deputy learned from the Glendale officer that on Jan. 11 he detained three male suspects for a traffic violation. In their car, he recovered numerous blank checks belonging to the victim. The victim then told the sheriff's deputy that she had ordered new personal checks with her updated address from both of her banks on Dec. 10. She said she never received them and that at an unspecified time between Dec. 10 and Jan. 5 someone had stolen delivered mail from her mailbox.

She said that on Jan. 5 she had been contacted by both banks advising her that wire transfers that had been attempted on both her accounts had been denied. She had not sought either of the wire transfers. She had not made a police report at that time because she was waiting for her husband to return from a business trip to go over their accounts with her.

Forgery — fraudulently signed check: 800 block of St. Katherine Drive. A woman reported that on Jan. 4 she received a notification card from a financial institution advising her that money had been transferred from it to another account that was unfamiliar to the victim. Then, on Jan. 5 she received another notification card from the institution saying that her check (made out to a name unspecified in the crime report) had been transferred into another account unknown to her.

She told a sheriff's deputy that she is the primary account holder on the account, which she opened a year ago for her minor son to establish credit and have money for emergencies. She is the only person who can access it and she did not authorize anyone to transfer money from it or purchase items from it on her behalf. Her son cannot write checks or access the account without her verification.

A fraud investigator with the financial institution told her one of the checks had been signed using a a "scribble" of her son's last name. The victim stated that when she first opened the account a year ago, she may have misplaced all her account paperwork and temporary checks, including the one involved, on a shopping cart at a La Cañada supermarket, but thought nothing of the loss at that time.

Jan. 12

Identity theft: 4800 block of Hampton Road. A woman reported that on Dec. 19 she received a letter from Chase Bank informing her that her application for credit was denied. She informed the bank that she did not attempt to open a new line of credit, nor did she give anyone permission to use her personal information to open an account.

Theft by access card (over $950) and identity theft: 5100 block of La Cañada Boulevard. A woman reported she had received a phone alert Jan. 12 from Wells Fargo about a possible fraud involving one of her credit cards. A subsequent look at her online banking statement revealed that a "Carrier" credit card had been opened in her name without her permission and on Jan. 3 had been used to charge materials and labor (in an amount unspecified in the crime report) at General Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. in Monrovia.

The victim visited her local Wells Fargo branch and spoke with a vice president there who told her someone had opened the account using her Social Security number, full name (with last name misspelled), incorrect date of birth, home address and an email address.

The victim then called General Heating & Air Conditioning and spoke with its owner, who told her a male salesperson from her company was at a job site (unspecified in the crime report) and witnessed a person there opening a credit card via telephone using the victim's personal information.

Carrier, the firm issuing the credit, is commonly used in regards to home improvement projects. The victim was told the transaction was completed once the work at the site was completed on Jan. 3. The victim said she suspects it was her sister, with whom she has a strained relationship, who opened the account without her permission.

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Compiled by Carol Cormaci

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