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Three charged in credit scam

Three New York men are accused of fraudulently acquiring $650 in gift cards from a Stafford County pharmacy and then returning to the store a couple of hours later, police said

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bill Kennedy said the men were arrested for using a fake credit card to purchase the gift cards about 1 p.m. at the CVS at 3008 Garrisonville Road in North Stafford. They used the credit card several times until it was finally declined, Kennedy said.

The men then left the store. A short time later, a customer entered the store and turned in two credit cards he had found in the parking lot. Both cards had the same name that was on the card the men had used to purchase the gift cards a short time earlier.

The same suspects returned to the store about 3:30 p.m., police said, and two of them got in line. The manager recognized them and called the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies Kevin Lytle and Bo Truslow responded and Lytle confronted two of the suspects in the store. Kennedy said the men were visibly distressed when they saw the deputy, and neither was able to produce any identification.

They denied the manager’s claims that they had made fraudulent purchases a few hours earlier.

Kennedy said one of the men told Lytle that the real suspect was in the back of the store, but Lytle ignored what he believed was a ruse to get him away from the suspects.

Police later found 10 credit cards on the two suspects with the same name on them. They also found the gift cards that had been purchased earlier in the car with the third suspect, who was apprehended by Truslow.

All of the credit cards had different numbers on the magnetic strip than what were on the fronts of the cards, Kennedy said. The suspects continued to deny knowledge about the fraudulent cards and claimed they were in Virginia simply to visit a friend who was attending college in Stafford.

They didn’t know the friend’s last name or the name of the college, Kennedy said.

Lakeem F. Bryan, Brandon J. Howard and Craig G. Ramsey, all 20-year-old residents of Queens Village, N.Y., were each charged with credit card manufacturing, credit card theft, credit card fraud and conspiracy.

They were placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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