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Cops: 3 arrests in Suffolk ID-theft scheme

Left, Latique Oates, 19 of Freeport, middle, Andre

Left, Latique Oates, 19 of Freeport, middle, Andre Clayton, 19 of Freeport, right, Rameez Senior, 19 of St. Albans, Queens, all of who face identity theft charges. (March 7, 2013) Credit: SCPD

A 19-year-old Freeport man, arrested earlier this week in a series of gym locker thefts during which police said he stole credit card information used to later make fraudulent purchases, has been arrested on similar charges in Suffolk, police said.

Latique Oates, of 792 S. Ocean Ave., faces 14 counts of identity theft, Suffolk County police said Thursday. Two others, Rameez Senior, 19, of 194-50 114th Dr., St. Albans, Queens, and Andre Clayton, 19, of 49 Harrison Ave., Freeport, also were charged, police said.

Senior faces eight counts of identity theft.

Clayton faces charges of 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 Clayton was arrested, charged and arraigned in February for his role.

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 are both scheduled for arraignment Thursday in First District Court in Central Islip.

Earlier this week Oates was arrested in Nassau after Nassau County police said he was caught stealing items from a locker Tuesday at the XSports Fitness center on Old Country Road in East Garden City.

Police said employees reported catching Oates stealing an iPhone from a locker there.

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

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 petit larceny, fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree identity theft and third-degree unlawful possession of personal identification.

He was arraigned on those charges Wednesday in First District Court in Hempstead.

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