News-Press Editorial: Identity thieves come in all shapes and sizes

Glendale police have found themselves busy this week apprehending criminal teams allegedly involved in identity theft by the use of credit card readers or “skimmers” — the latter of which are surreptitiously placed in gas stations or at automated teller machines to capture the credit information and pin numbers of unwitting victims.

Such thefts are common here. But despite stereotypes perpetrated in our online comment pages, no single ethnicity has the corner on this particular crime. People of all ages and descriptions indulge in making easy money through identity theft.

Readers might recall that in August, six men were arrested on multiple counts of identity theft in the wake of an alleged credit-card skimming operation aimed at purchasing and reselling gasoline. In that case, officers discovered $60,000 in cash, guns, card-skimming devices, credit cards, two trucks used to store and haul gas, and computer software and equipment.

On Sunday, in an incident that reminded us of the summer bust, a Glendale resident was arrested after fire personnel discovered his utility van had been modified to hold up to 500 gallons of gasoline. A ridiculous amount of fuel was not the van’s only cargo; inside, investigators discovered 20 counterfeit credit cards.

The next day, three other men were arrested after police linked counterfeit credit cards found inside their vehicle in Glendale to card-skimming devices placed at gas station pumps in Coronado.

On Wednesday, three men were booked after counterfeit credit cards were discovered, police said, in the apartment belonging to one of them. This same man also had stashed a card-making kit and multiple credit cards in the engine compartment of his vehicle.

We congratulate the Glendale Police Department for its busts so far this month. But we know their work will never be done. We encourage law-abiding citizens to remain alert to the fact that despite the ongoing arrests, there’s going to be someone else all too eager to part them from their hard-earned cash and worse, their identity.

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