Police: 2 more arrests in ID theft scheme

Kewon Brandon, 17, of Freeport, was charged Thursday

Kewon Brandon, 17, of Freeport, was charged Thursday with unlawful possession of a skimming device, as well as with unlawful possession of personal identification information, third-degree assault and petty larceny. (March 7, 2013) (Credit: SCPD)

A 19-year-old Freeport man arrested in February in connection with an Islandwide credit card identity theft scam has been additionally charged with 17 counts of identity theft, Suffolk County police said.

Andre Clayton, of 49 Harrison Ave., had already been charged with third-degree grand larceny, petty larceny, third-degree assault, second-degree possession of a skimming device, third-degree unlawful possession of personal identification information and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Police said the additional charges for identity theft were leveled Thursday, after the arrest of others -- including Latique Oates, of 792 S. Ocean Ave., and Rameez Senior, 19, of 194-50 114th Dr., St. Albans, Queens.


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Another teen, Kewon Brandon, 17, also of 49 Harrison Ave., Freeport, was charged Thursday with unlawful possession of a skimming device, as well as with unlawful possession of personal identification information, third-degree assault and petty larceny.

Oates faces 14 counts of identity theft, while Senior faces eight counts of identity theft.

Oates had been arrested earlier in the week and charged with a series of gym locker thefts in Nassau County.

Nassau police said that, during that spree, Oates stole credit card information used later to make fraudulent purchases. Police said Oates was arrested after he was caught stealing items from a locker Tuesday at the XSports Fitness center on Old Country Road in East Garden City. Employees reported catching Oates stealing an iPhone from a locker there, police said.

During the ensuing investigation, police said Oates was found to be in possession of six prepaid Visa gift cards, five Costco membership cards and a BJ's membership card -- none in his name.

Oates was charged with five counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument, two counts of second-degree forgery, three counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, three counts of second-degree identity theft, six counts of petty larceny, fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree identity theft and third-degree unlawful possession of personal identification. He was arraigned Wednesday in First District Court in Hempstead.

Meanwhile, Suffolk police said that, after "identifying a pattern of larcenies from lockers in fitness centers" in January, First Precinct Crime Section Sgt. David O'Brien and Officers Joseph Collins and Joseph Russo identified "multiple suspects." They then shared that information with Fourth Squad Det. Dennis Mannix and Fourth Precinct Crime Section Officer Frank Rooney, who had been conducting a similar investigation since December, police said. Identity Theft unit detectives also were involved.

Police said that, as part of the crimes, the suspects "would break into lockers, use a portable skimming device to capture information from debit and credit cards" and then photograph personal information from driver's licenses -- and return the items to the lockers.

The stolen information would later be loaded onto fraudulent credit cards and the suspects would make purchases of gift cards or other items, many at BJ's Wholesale Club and Home Depot, police said.

Oates and Senior were both arraigned Thursday in First District Court in Central Islip. Clayton and Brandon are both scheduled for arraignment there Friday.

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