A 20-year-old woman was arrested earlier this month after attempting to buy $12,000 worth of electronics at the Apple store in the Glendale Galleria using fraudulent identification.
Monae Wallace, a Victorville resident, has since been linked to $100,000 in losses in connection with several stolen identities. At least one other suspect is being investigated, Glendale police reported.
“People are coming specifically into our town because they’re looking for a specific item to purchase. In this case, it’s electronics.” said Sgt. Dan Suttles, a spokesman with the Glendale Police Department.
When Glendale police confronted Wallace on Oct. 9, she at first claimed the California driver’s license she provided — which had her photo but a different name — was authentic. Officers said they quickly realized it was a fraudulent card.
After her arrest for being in possession of a fake driver’s license, Wallace admitted the card was fake, but claimed the named person was her grandmother.
Police called a number associated with the name, and a woman picked up who corroborated Wallace’s claims and said she didn’t object to the purchases, Suttles said.
However, a more thorough investigation revealed a different number for the actual person named on the license. When officers called that number, the woman said she had no granddaughter and did not know Wallace.
Wallace was arrested and released on bail.
While identity theft is a common crime, Suttles said the use of a second person to confirm the false story made the case stand out.
“It shows that there was more thought put into this than I’ve normally seen,” said Suttles, who worked financial crimes for eight years. “There were different layers of covering their tracks.”
An investigation of Wallace and co-conspirators is underway, but no charges have yet been filed with the district attorney’s office.
These types of cases can become drawn-out “rabbit holes,” Suttles said, as investigators must look into every fraudulent purchase to compile evidence.
If the suspect, as in the case of Wallace, used multiple cards in multiple locations, they have to confirm the charges with the bank, as well as with the victim, and try to obtain security footage from targeted stores to verify the suspect’s identity.
That takes time, energy and often a series of warrants. It could take a month or more before charges are filed due to the scope of this case Suttles said.
About 750 to 800 reports of identity theft were made in Glendale last year, Suttles estimated.
One day after Wallace’s arrest, a Canoga Park man was arrested on suspicion of identity theft Tuesday after Glendale police say they spotted him driving to several gas stations and refueling his vehicle each time.
Kenyatta Couch, 42, was also arrested for reportedly driving with a suspended license.