PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Four people suspected of using other people’s identities to get their hands on new iPhones were busted by Clackamas County deputies after an alert Costco employee spotted some suspicious activity right before Christmas.
In the end, investigators recovered more than $30,000 worth of stolen goods. The suspects, all from New York, are believe to be part of a national theft ring.
On December 23, the Costco employee at the Clackamas store called authorities to report a customer used a fake ID to get a Costco membership card. Investigators said the suspect then used a fraudulent credit card to buy 3 iPhones worth $3600.
Deputies responded in time to do a traffic stop in the Costco parking lot. The 4 people in the car — later identified as Anthony Quezada, Mickael Silvestre, John Paul Ortiz, and Naisha Urena — had multiple fake identifications and a number of Costco cards in different names.
Officials also said they recovered 23 new iPhones and 2 Mac Book Pros, valued at more than $32,000 — and all appeared to be ready to ship.
“It was clearly a coordinated effort to do this. I mean, flying all the way from New York to Portland to buy these phones through Costco took a little bit of effort,” said Clackamas County Sgt. Marcus Mendoza. “I would imagine that they’ve done this before or that they were told how to do this.”
The belief is the thieves would then sell the iPhones and computers for cash.
The 4 suspects spent the Christmas holiday in jail before bailing out. Their court date is upcoming in Clackamas County.
KOIN 6 News learned area police are looking into whether the same people were involved in stealing iPhones at Bridgeport Village in Tualatin.