Identity Theft Suspects Arrested - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/05/05

Identity Theft Suspects Arrested

Tybee Police have arrested two people in connection with the worst series of car break-ins on the island in years. Investigators believe 24 year old Rachel Carter from Statesboro and 27 year old Joshua Graham from Savannah may have broken in to seventeen cars in the last month. Police say they stole credit cards, check books and electronic gear. They spotted the couple in a stolen rental car in a Tybee parking lot. Both are now facing several charges.

Police say if you are heading to the beach, be exceptionally careful, especially since you probably won't take your wallet and valuables with you and someone could be watching to see where you leave them. Investigators say you should stow your valuables under your seat or in the trunk, preferably before you get to the beach. Tybee Police say you also need to lock your doors. Too many people don't, said Tybee Police Chief James Price, including many of the victims of last month's car break-ins.

"Some of the vehicles were left unlocked," he said. "In fact, the majority of them were left unlocked."

Cars with valuables in plain sight are ready targets. Unfortunately, you might lose more than your wallet. Last month, thieves stole identities and maxed out credit cards.

"They're easy prey," explained Price. "They (thieves) took one checkbook from a lady lives out in South Carolina. "They probably took her for about $18,000 in checks."

Joseph Johnson, from Savannah, said he takes steps to protect himself.

"That's what I always do," he said. "I make sure that I take everything out of the car and put it in the trunk. I don't even want anyone looking in."

Claire Simms, from Decatur, Georgia, said it's a good idea.

"We've been putting our C.D. players and stuff like that underneath the seats of the car," she explained, "making sure it's locked."

Dicksie Saumier, from Rincon, keeps after he family to be cautious.

"We had a teenager who went (back) into the vehicle after us and left the wallet sitting right on the seat," she said, "so we had to yell at her and say, "that's just going to cause somebody to break in."

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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