Detectives with the Shelby County Sheriff's ALERT Squad (Area Law Enforcement & Retailers Team) say they're tracking a spate of locker room thefts at fitness centers from Southaven to Collierville to East Shelby County.
The latest, a break-in at 24-Hour Fitness Sport, 1285 Ridgeway Rd. in East Memphis, led to a credit card theft caught on the Action News 5 Scam Cam.
ALERT Det. Dee Bowling says Nov. 7, someone worked her way through 24-Hour Fitness Sport's check-in process and broke into a member's locker inside the women's locker room.
"Cut the lock off her locker, took all of the personal belongings out, then replaced it with a new lock," says Bowling.
Not long afterward, the Scam Cam caught the woman below using the member's credit card at two Southeast Shelby County department stores.
Bowling says the suspect charged over $8,500 in electronics.
"We're talking IPods, Wii games, high-end electronics, and each time she forged the victim's signature," says Bowling.
A department store source says the cashier never asked the suspect for identification because credit card companies, including VISA and MasterCard, advise retailers not to request identification on credit card purchases. The source says -- and a MasterCard source confirms -- that the companies believe it's more beneficial to keep purchases flowing and let the credit card's built-in insurance against unauthorized purchases protect the consumer.
He says retailers should make it store policy to request identification on all credit and debit card purchases. He also believes consumers should write "Ask For ID" or "Check ID" in the signature boxes on the back of their credit cards to subtly encourage cashiers to check.
Meanwhile, this credit card fraud suspect is still at large:
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That's the home page of the ALERT Squad. At the bottom, you'll find a quick-link where you can e-mail an anonymous ALERT tip.
You can also call ALERT's secure hotline at 901-756-LOSS.