Traveling credit card thieves target Kent County

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KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WOOD) – The Kent County Sheriff Department is warning residents about credit card thieves traveling to West Michigan to target businesses and residents.

The agency said it arrested six people connected to three different cases last weekend.

Deputies said a suspect who used stolen credit cards to buy merchandise from several Byron Township businesses in January was arrested Friday.

Detectives believe 27-year-old Deandre Calhoun of Detroit bought or tried to buy more than $40,000 in merchandise from the businesses. They also believe he purchased more than $100,000 in items using stolen credit card information.

Police said they found hundreds of credit cards, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and other personal information among credit card encoders at two homes connected to Calhoun. Detectives also located collectible coins and other property from Kent County victims, they say.

Left to right: mug shots of Desean Porter, Arthur Jackson and Jennifer Harris provided by the Kent County Jail. (March 8, 2016)

Saturday, while busting three people for smoking marijuana in the Cascade Township Meijer parking lot, deputies said they found numerous gift cards, Visa Green Dot cards, iPads, and other merchandise worth nearly $7,000 in the suspects’ vehicle.

Detectives said they determined the suspects – 26-year-old Desean Porter, 26-year-old Arthur Jackson and 25-year-old Jennifer Harris – used stolen credit card numbers programmed onto the back of gift cards to buy the valuables. Investigators believe they may be behind tens of thousands of dollars in credit card fraud.

A mug shot of Willie Coger, provided by the Kent County Jail. (March 8, 2016)

The same day, deputies arrested 21-year-old Willie Coger of Detroit after they say he used gift cards reprogrammed with stolen credit card information to buy cigarettes. The vehicle he was in had 18 cartons of cigarettes believed to have been purchased from Kent County businesses using bogus credit cards, they said.

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