CRIME

Taking down an alleged identity thief

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At 5 a.m. Friday morning, a swat team bashed open a suspect's door and within seconds he was being put in handcuffs. As police began a systematic search of his apartment, 29-year-old Joel Uzodinma was being led away in handcuffs denying everything.

“It’s a misunderstanding - it'll come out whatever the situation is,” said Uzodinma.

Yet within seconds, the detectives, using their own tiny credit card scanner and computers, identify a stack of stolen credit cards and then find 30 $500 Visa gift cards allegedly fraudulently encoded activated using stolen cards.

Sergeant Aubrey Thompson, who runs the Prince George’ County police unit which investigates such crime, says it’s become a huge business.

“It's a big deal it affects one out of 6 people have been victims of credit card fraud,” Thompson said.

Already considering the raid and arrest a success, the team moved next to a jaguar believed to be Uzodinma's. And that is where the police hit pay dirt.

Two more computers a gun and the scanner allegedly used to steal credit card info.

The team also found neat alphabetized lists of names and addresses they believe to be past or potential victims of identity theft.

As for Uzodinma he faces a long list of charges, potentially federal and since he's already on probation following an armed robbery conviction. It’s likely his freedom and credit have run out.

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