A Queens man who used information from the Target data breach was arraigned Friday on grand larceny charges after buying more than $35,000 in gift cards at one store in a span of two weeks, Suffolk police said.
Terron Stowe, 27, was caught Thursday night at a Rite Aid Pharmacy in Islandia by identity-theft unit detectives who lay in wait for him, police said.
Store security had contacted police in January after suspecting a credit card scam, police said. Stowe, using information from 45 stolen credit cards, had purchased more than $35,000 in gift cards at the Rite Aid between Jan. 6 and Jan. 20, police said.
Detectives waited at the store Thursday for Stowe and noticed him buying gift cards just before 7:30 p.m., police said.
After he was arrested, Stowe was found in possession of 27 cloned credit cards containing other people's information, police said.
Stowe, of 119-19 Farmers Blvd., St. Albans, was charged with two counts of third-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and petty larceny.
His attorney, Dennis Coppin of Bayside, described Stowe, a substitute teacher in the New York City schools, as a "very nice guy" who maintains he's innocent. "We're going to do a full investigation," Coppin said. "After a full and fair investigation, I expect him to be exonerated."
Stowe was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court May 23, his attorney said. Police did not release other details, including how detectives knew Stowe would be at the store Thursday.
Hackers stole data from as many as 70 million Target customers in the breach, including details of as many as 40 million credit and debit cards, the company said.
The retail giant on Thursday admitted that its computer security system sent out alarms when it was invaded by hackers last year, but Target decided the alerts did not warrant immediate follow-ups, resulting in one of the largest data breaches in the country.