CONROE, Texas – A traffic stop led to one of the largest identity theft busts ever for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. It involves at least 300 victims and nearly 2,000 stolen documents.
Kacie Thompson stashed 1,700 pieces of stolen identities in the west Houston motel room where she was arrested Monday, investigators said. All of the information appears stolen from apartment complex mailboxes.
“I didn’t know the cause,” said Nikki Prather, who had $5,000 of unauthorized charges on her credit card. “I’m glad you guys are shedding light on it, because I would have never known it was something bigger than my situation.”
A sheriff’s deputy stopping Ashley Mack and Alexander Samuelson for speeding, then after given consent to search, found them hiding 52 forged driver’s licenses, according to court documents.
Investigators also recovered 300 pieces of stolen mail from the duo, authorities said.
The duo admitted working with Thompson, according to court records. They used “arrow keys” to open community mailboxes and steal credit cards, W2s, death certificates, even someone’s LifeLock membership application, records show. In some cases, the group ordered credit cards and more using victims’ identities.
“Everybody is worried about it,” said Iokesh Ilekanti, whose neighbor is a victim.
Lt. Scott Spender expects more arrests. With so many victims, he said the bust is one of the largest his department has ever seen. So they are pressing prosecutors for stiff punishment, even federal charges.
“In this particular case I do believe (federal charges are) going to be a lot higher and a lot tougher for (the suspects),” Lt. Spencer said.
Meanwhile, victims like Prather are working to clear and protect their names.
People worried they might be victims too need to call the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over their home address, Lt. Spencer said. He added renters who feel their mailboxes are vulnerable should consider getting a PO Box or something more secure.
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