Clackamas County Sheriff's deputies busted a national cell phone fraud ring on Dec. 23 at the Clackamas Costco store.
Deputies arrested four New Yorkers who traveled to the West Coast to fraudulently buy and resell new iPhones. The suspects were caught with more than $32,000 worth of phones and computers at the store, at 13130 S.E. 84th Ave. in Oregon City.
According to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, an alert Costco employee notified law enforcement about a potential fraudulent purchase of multiple iPhones at the store. The employee reported that a customer had used a stolen out-of-state ID to create a Costco membership card. The suspect allegedly used that fraudulently obtained card to purchase three iPhones worth $3,600.
Sheriff's Office deputies responded and pulled over the suspect's vehicle as it was leaving the Costco parking lot.
Four people were in the car.
According to the Sheriff's Office, Anthony Quezada of New York allegedly admitted to using ID that did not belong to him to create a membership card and to fraudulently purchase the iPhones.
After searching the vehicle, deputies recovered a FedEx box with 23 new iPhone 11 phones still in the boxes and two Apple Mac Book Pro computers. The items are valued at more than $32,000 and appeared to be ready to ship.
The suspect vehicle's other occupants — Mickael Silvestre, John Paul Ortiz and Naisha Urena, all from New York — also were in possession of fake IDs and multiple Costco Cards using different names. All were arrested and transported to the Clackamas County Jail, where they were charged with identity theft.
Authorities believe several different theft rings operate in this manner throughout the United States. The phones, purchased and even activated under fake or stolen IDs, often are sold at discounted prices.
The suspects have been released and are believed to have traveled back to New York.
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