TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) - Trumann police arrested a man and woman who they say cloned several people's credit card numbers.
The investigation started Monday night when Susan Smith, a Flash Market employee, called police about a woman acting strangely in the store.
"The girl came in to buy cigars, and she didn't have an I.D.," Smith said. "I thought she was going back outside to get it, but I saw her outside dumping trash in our parking lot. I kept watching her and I thought something was really shady about that."
Police arrived minutes later and found the woman and 33-year-old John Gutierrez sitting outside the gas station.
Police searched the pair's vehicle, which they rented with a cloned card, according to Assistant Chief John Redman.
"Upon searching the vehicle for narcotics, we did locate some narcotics and drug paraphernalia," Redman said. "Seven grams of meth was located."
That is not all they found, though.
"We started finding a lot of debit cards and gift cards, and we also found an encoder that encodes the numbers onto debit cards," Redman said.
Officers found a total of 140 cloned cards.
Redman said Gutierrez got the card numbers from an unknown source.
"We are still in the beginning of the investigation," Redman said. "We are going to figure out who exactly he was calling and find out how he was getting his numbers."
Although Redman said he does not know how many victims there are or how much money they have spent, he said the two spent more than $1,000 in Jonesboro alone.
"They admitted to using them at Lane Bryant in Jonesboro in the mall," Redman said. "They used a card in Barnes and Noble, but I don't believe the card worked there, so they abandoned that. They spent a full 24 hours at the Hilton Garden Inn. They charged over $700 on a fake card there on somebody's dime basically. They also used a card at the McDonald's in Trumann. "
Police said the suspects were traveling and did not even know where they were when they got arrested.
Redman said he is glad they put a stop to a series of crimes that could have gone on to affect several more people.
"Hopefully, we'll be able to prosecute them, not just in our jurisdiction but in every jurisdiction they've been in," Redman said. "They've been doing this from Kansas to Oklahoma to Arkansas now."
Police did not release the woman's name because she claimed Gutierrez raped her at the Hilton Garden Inn in Jonesboro just hours before Trumann police arrested them, according to a Jonesboro police report.
They both face multiple charges, but Gutierrez is not facing a rape charge at this time.
We will continue to track this story and bring more information as details emerge.
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