PALM DESERT- The attempts of three men to use fraudulent credit cards led to the discovery of hundreds of such fraudulent cards.
On Wednesday, retailers in the swanky Palm Desert shopping strip El Paseo reported persons attempting to use illicit credit cards. Deputies from the Palm Desert Riverside Sheriff’s Station responded to the report near the 73-000 block of El Paseo Drive. When deputies arrived, three suspects fled the scene on foot and the officers pursued them. Two of the three Hispanic male adults were apprehended at the scene, but one of the suspects was able to escape and is still wanted by the police.
Once the suspects were detained, the Palm Desert Burglary Suppression Unit assumed the investigation. A search warrant was issued for the suspects’ rental car, and the search revealed a treasure trove of stolen card numbers. According to a press release from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, hundreds of manufactured credit cards, purchased gift cards and stolen property from numerous local area businesses were found in the vehicle. The property included clothing, electronics and consumables.
Further investigation in the crimes revealed that the suspects had indeed been busy. There was evidence of retail fraud through the use of stolen credit card numbers in the cities of San Diego, Indio, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and Temecula. According to Sergeant A. Eller, “The total loss is estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars, and the victims associated to the stolen credit card numbers reside in different states across the nation.”
The two suspects arrested were 31-year-old San Diego resident Javier Barragan and 25-year-old Tijuana resident Osairo Tovar, who were both charged with numerous counts of burglary, fraud, identity theft, and possession of stolen property. Both suspects were booked into the Riverside County Jail located in the city of Indio.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to call Investigator R. Smith at the Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station at (760) 836-1668.