After what turned out to be a complex investigation, Newport Beach
Police detectives pieced together a case of identity theft that led
to the arrest of two men Nov. 14, officials said.
Police arrested Greg Crandall Colbert, 48, of Palm Desert and Hank
Dexter, 54, of Palm Springs on suspicion of using stolen credit cards
to buy golf equipment worth more than $4,000, Sgt. Steve Shulman
The investigation began when detectives looked into a vehicle
burglary at the Newport Beach Country Club on Nov. 2, he said. The
credit cards and checks reported stolen in that burglary were used in
Santa Monica, where the suspects reportedly bought the golf
equipment. The person who sold the equipment became suspicious of the
duo's lavish purchase and jotted down the license plate number of
their car, Shulman said.
Detectives found out that the car was registered to a rental
agency in Riverside County, he said. They also learned that Colbert,
who had rented the car, had actually been arrested by Costa Mesa
Police at one point, but he gave officers a different name and then
was bailed out before his fingerprints could reveal his true
identity. Later, it was discovered that the car Colbert was driving
when Costa Mesa Police arrested him had also been stolen, Shulman
Before the Costa Mesa arrest, though, the suspects had made
several purchases with the stolen checks and credit cards at several
locations throughout Southern California, he said.
Police, who alerted several country clubs about the fraud,
received a call from a Newport Beach golf club identifying Colbert as
someone who had been shopping at that store. Store employees called
the police when Colbert showed up again on Nov. 14.
Colbert and Dexter admitted to committing all of the crimes known
at the time of their arrest, as well as others that had not been
discovered, including an auto theft and another burglary, Shulman
said. Detectives found a hotel room in Palm Springs rented by the
suspects -- using stolen identities -- where they recovered a stolen
vehicle and more stolen property, he said.
Shulman said Colbert had a pending warrant from the Los Angeles
Sheriff's Department in Lakewood. Colbert will eventually be
extradited to Arizona, he said.
The suspects were booked for burglary and taken to Newport Beach
city jail. Dexter is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail, and Colbert
is being held without bail.