Pike County Sheriff’s Office investigates “statewide” credit card fraud case

STAFF REPORT :::

The Pike County Sheriff’s Office has made multiple arrests in connection to what investigators describe as a statewide credit card fraud ring.

Officials say stolen credit card numbers were used to make several purchases for merchandise totaling $10,378 Ace Hardware. They allege what appeared to be legitimate purchases of items including zero turn lawn mowers were in fact fraudulent.

Authorities say suspects made multiple trips to Ace Hardware over a period of time, with different individuals making purchases using credit card numbers belonging to victims from throughout the country who were unaware of the transactions.

Surveillance footage from Ace Hardware was utilized to identify the suspects and vehicles used. Officials allege that investigators on May 18 learned suspects were again attempting to purchase several pieces of lawn equipment from Ace Hardware.

Investigators allege that at approximately 2 p.m., a vehicle known to have been used in prior incidents arrived, and after entering the store, Itroy Baugh, age 48, of Eatonton, and Alycia Lawrence, age 43, of Sparta, were arrested for identity fraud.

A search of the suspects’ vehicle resulted in the discovery of more than $27,000 cash.

Investigators allege that money was proceeds from the sell of illegally-obtained merchandise, and that additional GPD evidence recovered from the vehicle provided information linking the suspects to businesses visited in other jurisdictions.

PCSO investigators, with the assistance of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, conducted a search of Baugh’s residence that they say resulted in the recovery of lawn mowers purchased illegally from Ace Hardware.

Baugh and Lawrence are also suspects in similar cases in Dublin, Sparta, Butler and Tennille.

Two individuals currently serving life sentences in the Georgia Department of Corrections are also alleged to have been involved in these crimes.

Phone records allegedly indicate that Tomorris Geiger and Joshua Rounsoville, incarcerated in Ware State Prison, had access to a cell phone and were using that device to obtain credit card numbers which were then used to make fraudulent purchases in this widespread case.

Arrest warrants for identity theft have been obtained for a third suspect, Darryl Farley, age 26, of Eatonton. Investigators say Farley used a fraudulent identity to make purchases at Ace Hardware in Zebulon.

The investigation is ongoing throughout the numerous jurisdictions involved and additional arrests are possible.

It is believed that most of the stolen items were sold to unsuspecting members of the public, and authorities are asking anyone who made purchases from Baugh, Lawrence or Farley to contact investigators at 770.567.8431.

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