Police are searching for a suspect who they say used two victims’ credit card information to make purchases at the Woodinville Target last month.
Larry Peabody, a Kirkland Fire Department battalion chief, said he and his wife were buying paint on Jan. 4 when their card was declined. Peabody’s wife noticed a charge from the Woodinville Target for about $300 that they hadn’t spent.
Kirkland Police got surveillance footage from Target, and saw that the suspect, an unidentified Asian man, used a cloned card with Peabody’s card number to shop at the Woodinville Target on Jan. 3, said Detective Allan O’Neill with the Kirkland Police Department.
The male suspect (shown above, left) was accompanied by an unidentified Asian woman (above, right), but the man and woman tried to distance themselves from each other once they were in the store, according to Sergeant Cindi West, public information officer for the King County Sheriff’s Office. The woman made separate purchases with a credit card, but police don’t know if that card was stolen. The two drove away in a dark blue BMW 5 series.
Peabody believes his credit card information was stolen during the Target hack, in which criminals stole credit and debit card data from as many as 40 million Target customers around the holidays. Peabody said he shopped at Target in Portland on Nov. 27, 2013.
"Our card had been compromised to the point that somebody in Texas and Pennsylvania and Ohio had tried to use our card," Peabody said. He believes his card information was sold to a group of criminals.
"We felt like we were victimized, compromised. Somebody was using our good credit," Peabody said. He added, "I hope they get identified and apprehended."
He’s asking anyone who knows something about the suspects to identify them through Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS1-800-222-TIPS.
Two weeks after the alleged theft with Peabody’s card, a Maple Valley woman was the victim of a similar crime. West said the victim never let her card out of her possession and doesn’t know how the card was compromised.
The victim’s bank notified her of two fraudulent charges — a $250 charge at the Woodinville Target on Jan. 17, and another charge at jcpenney.com.
According to surveillance footage from the Woodinville Target, the same male and female suspects used that victim’s card, and the suspects left in the same blue BMW, West said.
West said the suspects aren’t in custody yet. Police are investigating their license plate number, but don’t have their names yet.
Police caution everyone to protect themselves from credit card theft. The Federal Trade Commission warns cardholders to not lend their card to anyone else, to not give their card number out on the phone unless they placed the call to a company they know to be reputable, to never sign a blank receipt and to check their bills promptly and reconcile them with purchases made.
For more information about preventing credit card theft, see consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0216-protecting-against-credit-card-fraud.