Thanks to an observant convenience store clerk, the Fulton Police Department arrested three people Friday morning for allegedly using stolen credit cards at multiple locations throughout mid-Missouri, with charges likely from other states as well.
According to a press release, a manager at the Fastlane on Bluff Street "observed what appeared to be a suspicious credit card transaction at his business in Fulton." After calling other area convenience stores, the manager confirmed his suspicions that they were fraudulent transactions and contacted authorities.
The Fulton police located the suspects just outside Fulton after they used the cards at another Fastlane on Amerihost Drive. George Franklin, 39, of Chicago, Ill., Monique Q. Collins, 26, of Chicago and Hadjii E. Covington, 40, of Racine, Wisc., were arrested on charges of felony stealing by deceit.
"What made the clerk suspicious was that she bought four cartons of cigarettes, but used a different card for each carton, and (the clerk) saw more cards in her purse," said Maj. Roger Rice with the FPD. "She called the general manager, and he told her not to do it - they'd been hit by them before.
"Apparently they were here in October - the same three people in the same van."
Rice said the trio had been using gift cards loaded with stolen credit card information to make purchases - primarily 100 cartons of Newport cigarettes.
"They've gotten a credit card writer and put people's credit card information on the gift cards," Rice said. "They've been bootlegging the cigarettes. They pay $45 a carton here and take them back to Chicago and sell them for $90."