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Elmont man tried to buy $18,000 in gift cards with stolen bank account data, police say

Michael Richards, 25, of Elmont, was arrested on

Michael Richards, 25, of Elmont, was arrested on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 after he tried to buy $8,000 worth of gift cards at the Bloomingdale's at Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City with stolen bank information, Nassau police said.

Bail was set at $325,000 cash or $500,000 bond Saturday for an Elmont man arrested after he tried to use stolen bank account information to buy $18,000 worth of gift cards at the Roosevelt Field mall, Nassau County police said.

Police said Michael Richards, 25, of 51 Joan Ct., entered the Bloomingdale's store on Old Country Road in Garden City about 7 p.m. Friday and tried to purchase 18 $1,000 gift cards and a pair of jeans with a Visa debit card.

An investigation showed the debit card had been re-encoded with account information stolen from another financial institution belonging to a female victim, police said.

Richards also had more than 130 credit and gift cards that were also re-encoded with fraudulent bank account information, police said.

He was arraigned Saturday in First District Court in Hempstead, charged with one count of third-degree grand larceny, 18 counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument and one count first-degree identity theft.

According to information the Nassau County district attorney's office provided in court, Richards was already out on bail after being charged with 20 counts of criminal possession of stolen property in a similar case in Ulster County. Details of that case were not immediately available.

The suspect's father, Neil Richards, was in court Saturday when bail was set in the Nassau County case. He said in an interview outside that his son had never been in trouble until recently. "Who knows why people do things?" he said, adding that his son associated with a "bad crowd" and stopped listening to his parents.

Michael Richards was scheduled to appear in court again Tuesday.

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