Visalians arrested in ID theft

Pair could have victimized as many as 50 people.

November 13, 2008 

One Visalia resident has been charged and another arrested in an identity-theft case that could involve as many as 50 victims.

David Brown, 21, who was arrested last month, has been charged with burglary, receiving stolen property and grand theft, the Tulare County District Attorney's Office said.

Angie Leon, 41, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of identity theft and possession of stolen property. She has not yet been charged.

Personal information, such as names, dates of birth and credit card numbers, for about 50 people was found when police Wednesday served a search warrant at 820 N. West Ave. and arrested Leon. Detectives found televisions and laptop computers worth about $4,000 that they believe were purchased with stolen credit cards found at the home.

Leon and Brown could have purchased items and established new credit accounts under the names of people whose identity was stolen, said Sgt. Steve Phillips, public information officer for the Visalia Police Department.

The case began Oct. 28 when Brown was arrested on suspicion of possessing two stolen credit cards belonging to Pinnacle CNG Co., a fueling company based in Midland, Texas. The credit cards were stolen from a Pinnacle employee's work truck in front of his Visalia residence in October, police said.

Visalia detectives discovered the credit cards had been used to buy televisions and computers from the Sony Corp. in New Jersey, which were delivered to the North West Avenue address, police said.

During the search of the home, Leon also was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Leon and Brown denied knowing each other, Phillips said.

Both suspects remained in custody Thursday at the Tulare County Jail, officials said.

Phillips said people who believe they could be victims of identity theft and have not yet reported it can call Visalia police at (559) 734-8116.

The case serves as a reminder of the need to take precautionary measures to prevent identity theft, Phillips said.

"We encourage everyone to shred their personal information," he said.

The reporter can be reachedat ejimenez@fresnobee.comor (559) 622-2420.

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