Atlanta police makes big fake gift card bust

- Gift cards are very popular, especially during the holiday season, but Atlanta police said there is one particular card that’s become the Target of crooks in Atlanta.

“We think we may have $100,000 to $200,000 worth of Target cards that have been purchased this way within the city limits,” Sgt. Paul Cooper.

Sgt. Cooper is with the Major Fraud Unit and said Wednesday night, Target store officials tipped off Atlanta police to a scheme Target investigators have been working for quite some time. Thursday morning, police set up surveillance of the store on Sidney Marcus Blvd. Cooper said they were anticipating the arrival of Adrian Clark, who video shows walking through the front door at 9 a.m.

“We observed him select 14 gift cards and approach the cashier and ask her to add $14,000 to those cards. It was a 1 to 2 ratio, so for every $1,000 the cashier was asked to put on a card, he offered her $500,” Sgt. Cooper said.

Sgt. Cooper said those involved in the scheme plan in advance, approaching Target employees on social media with the promise of cash to fraudulently load value to the gift cards. Cooper said Clark and Clark’s girlfriend, Arielle Charles, are charged with theft by taking, but he suspects several others could be part of a much larger operation to rack up thousands of dollars in gift cards.

“After he completed his transaction, we arrested him and his girlfriend. She had fraud warrants out of Suwanee, Georgia and she was in possession of cell phone used to set up deals,” Cooper. “We have two people in custody and about three seen on surveillance video from previous transactions, so we could discover this is happening other stores as we continue to investigate.”

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