DENVER (CBS4) – Police say a multi-state credit card scam was stopped in its tracks in LoDo.
The scam allegedly started in Florida and its unknown exactly how large the scam got, but the thieves were caught with thousands of dollars in merchandise. Police had help making arrests Tuesday.
It was reported the thieves had nearly a dozen suitcases full of stolen goods, including computers, cell phones and more. But their luck ran out when they tried to steal Western wear and a night at the Oxford Hotel.
“They would just take various sizes of different things and not trying them on,” Bruce Briggs with the Overland Clothing Store said. “The credit card was declined. They called their bank, gave us the phone.”
The person who they thought was a banker gave them a code and the purchase went through.
“The total without tax was $4,600,” Briggs said.
“There were different clues to our staff that were suspicious,” said Steve Weil, Rockmount Ranch Wear President.
Weil said he knew something was wrong when a strange group came into Rockmount Ranch Wear.
“One was enormous, gargantuan and didn’t try the things on. That’s always a bad sign,” Weil said.
The group was trying to buy cowboy boots, shirts and belts — more than $1,500 worth of merchandise. Weil said they tried to pay with a credit card. When it was declined they tried to call in a code. They left when Weil gave them resistance.
It all could have ended there, but when Weil went across the street to the Oxford Hotel, he saw the same group and warned the front desk.
“‘Did they try to pay with a credit card that was declined? Yes. Did they try to use a cell phone? Yes.’ I said, ‘You have a scam. We have to get your manager.’ ”
Police arrested Jerome Holt, Anthony Sykes, and Michael Johnson. A fourth person — a 6-foot, 200-pound black transgendered person who goes by the name Jacquelyn Hughes is still on the run.
Weil literally blocked the door of the hotel until police could arrive.
“There was a little confrontation,” he said. “I wasn’t going to let these people get away. They violated my trust. I feel abused.”
Weil knew he had the right crew. One of the suspects was wearing a shirt stolen from Rockmount just a few days earlier. By luck he put an end to a multi-state crime spree.
“By a random miracle you solve a crime that if it’s even reported is never solved.”
Police didn’t return calls for comment on Wednesday. They weren’t able to give a better description for the fourth suspect still on the run.
Meanwhile business owners are sending out a warning. If a credit card is declined stop the sale immediately.
Business owners in LoDo say they have a good relationship with each other, and that cooperation helped stop the scam.