The Rock Hill Police department has arrested a dark web mail theft group who targeted mailboxes, steal their credit cards and then use the dark web to get information on their victims. The group, according to the police, targeted mail boxes in both North and South Carolina, where they carried out most of their theft.
According to Detective Keith Dugan of the Rock Hill Police department, the four suspects were arrested on Tuesday in Iredell County, Mooresville, North Carolina after a traffic stop, carrying a book bag full of mail. The mail theft group upon their arrest were found with stolen mails from rock Hill victims. The suspects were allegedly responsible for the break-in of over 130 mail boxes at three York County apartment complexes.
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Reports state that, the mail theft gang used crowbars in breaking into the mail boxes before stealing whatever that’s in it, and preferably credit cards. After stealing the credit cards, the gang would then use the dark web to obtain identification information on the victims before using the cards for their fraudulent actions.
Detective Dugan again stated that, once the gang got the information they need on the dark web, pre-approved credit cards were then activated. The card assets were then were moved to gift cards that were picked up and turned into cash. After their arrests, three of the four suspects arrested, admitted to being involved in the crimes, during interrogation by the Rock Hill police.
“If they see start-up credit cards that get sent to you by companies, they’ll go on the dark web and get your personal information, get your date of birth, your Social Security number and where you live at,” detective Dugan stated. He added that, the mail theft gang would then call the 800 number and get the card activated. Once the card is activated in your name, “the gang then use the credit cards to buy gift cards, in which they lived on for as long as possible,” he said.
Detective Dugan revealed that, according to the suspects, the name of the scam is “mailboxing’ and had been going on for many years across the country. “It has now happened here and many residents have been victims to it,” he added. The four suspects arrested are 26-year-old Aaron Lashawn Wright, of Kingstown, North Carolina, 22-year-old Kaleef Hassan Carpenter, of Rock Hill, 28-year-old Antwan Jamarrus Vanshan Jones, of Shelby, North Carolina and Haleem Cornelious Gilliand, 20, of Charlotte. The police however stated that, they believed each of the suspects gave a wrong town and weren’t actually living there.
Each of the arrested suspects now faces charges of malicious damage to property, financial card theft, criminal conspiracy and larceny in South Carolina. They also face charges in North Carolina, according to Mooresville police. Detective Dugan in a statement revealed that, there is an ongoing investigation as to whether the arrested suspects were potentially responsible for the same crimes in other cities. There have been several reports in Atlanta, Belmont, Asheville and several other cities in Georgia. According to the Rock Hill Police department, the thefts and damage to property will were in thousands of dollars.
The United States Postal Service are also involved with the investigation as they believe some of their officials may have been in on the whole scheme. The mail theft group were believed to have been drug abusers and had travelled Southeast committing the crimes and using the proceeds to fuel their meth and Xanax drug habit.
One of the victims of the theft, Barbara Burdett stated that she never though about something like that when checking her River Stone Apartments mailbox in Rock Hill until the theft happened to her. She added that it was sad and wrong. “It’s just sad, especially right after Christmas when people are trying to get caught up, you know. And they are going to be hit with something they had absolutely no idea was coming,” Burdett said.
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The mail theft gang also allegedly stole at Brookstone apartments on Marett Boulevard and legacy at Manchester Village. The suspects badly destroyed a mailbox door at legacy which according to the police, hasn’t being used again since then.
All suspects of the gang remain in jail in North Carolina and are expected to be extradited in the coming days back to Rock Hill. According to South Carolina laws, the conspiracy charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, whiles enhancement charges for the thefts could earn each suspect a 10-year prison sentence.
Source: Herald Online
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