BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies were on an identity theft case only a few days collecting evidence when their prime suspects returned to the scene of one of the crimes and fell right into the hands of detectives.
30-year-old Marlene Alva and 30-year-old Kenneth McGill pleaded not guilty Tuesday to multiple felony charges.
The first calls started coming in last week.
“Initially our Telephone Report Unit started receiving calls and identified a pattern of some of these people all working for the same school district and we were able to determine that several people in the same geographical area were all victims of identity theft,” said Sgt. Stephen Wells of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.
KCSO won’t say which school district.
At first KCSO found at least 20 people who said their credit agencies or banks sounded the alarm.
“Saying your personal information is used to open a line of credit, and obviously these aren’t being initiated by the owners of the personal information,” said Wells.
But when investigators went to Les Schwab Tires on Buck Owens Boulevard last Friday afternoon, suspecting Alva and McGill had used a stolen identity there before, the pair walked right in.
Deputies found 136 stolen identities which included names, birth dates social security numbers, and addresses according to court documents.
KCSO is investigating how the two got the information, and couldn’t say if it was the result of a district data breach.
In addition to monitoring your credit to protect yourself, KCSO encourages you to make a report if you suspect theft.
In 2015, Alva pleaded no contest to five misdemeanors including stealing another person’s identifying information.
McGill has a longer rap sheet including pleading no contest to having a stolen vehicle in 2012 and to having burglary tools in 2015 and 2017.
Alva and McGill are due back in court on May 25th.