Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Reading foursome accused of running credit card scam
Police say they bought goods at Walmart
Ephrata police have charged a Reading foursome with an "elaborate" stolen credit card scam that involved Walmart stores in up to five counties.
Police allege the foursome made online purchases at www.walmart.com with stolen credit cards, then picked up the merchandise at stores in Lancaster and at least four neighboring counties.
Ephrata police nabbed the four alleged thieves Tuesday afternoon at the Ephrata Walmart at 890 East Main St.
Detective Brad Ortenzi, lead investigator, said the group pulled the scam at that store 10 to 20 times in past weeks. Each incident involved a theft of about $500, he said.
Those arrested were identified as: Nona Stern, 43; Daniel Obuama, 24; Frank Pollux, 26; and Vincent Mapp, 56.
They are charged with felony criminal attempt and conspiracy. All are locked up at Lancaster County Prison.
Ortenzi said the foursome are the main players in the scam, but other individuals could have played lesser roles.
The detective said further charges are "imminent," noting that a similar scam was reported at a Walmart on Fruitville Pike in Manheim Township. The foursome admitted to targeting that store, Ortenzi said.
The foursome also confessed to pulling scam jobs in York, Lehigh, Berks and Montgomery counties, police reported.
The four purchased expensive items, often electronics, online with credit card information stolen from numerous individuals, Ortenzi said. Just before going to the stores, the alleged thieves accessed the online account and listed themselves as persons to pick up the items, Ortenzi explained.
The victims of the credit card thefts didn't realize the purchases were made until later, after the merchandise was already picked up, police said.
Detectives are still investigating just how long the scam had been going on, how much merchandise was stolen and who else was involved.
Walmart officials are reviewing surveillance video footage that allegedly shows the four suspects.