Local Resident Catches Identity Thief in the Act
Identity theft suspect arrested by police after a local resident and Montecito Inn employees chased him down (courtesy photos)
By edhat staff
A local resident recently had his credit card stolen and was able to track down the thief to see him arrested in Montecito.
Josh Blair ordered a new American Express credit card last week and was waiting for its arrival. He received an email stating his card had arrived but never saw it until Tuesday when he received an alert about recent purchases.
"I received an alert on my smartwatch that my card was used for $40 for gas at Seaside Fuel Depot right by my condo on Chapala. I asked my wife and she said it was not her. I look at my online activity and I saw a lot of charges that are not mine all around downtown SB," said Blair to edhat.
Blair said he was about to call American Express but decided not to since he's been pretty successful on his own recovering stolen property. Last year there were bicycles stolen from his building on Chapala Street and using a few "investigation tactics," Blair was able to find the suspect and recover over 30 other stolen bicycles within four days.
He decided to review video footage of who accessed their building during the time of the stolen mail and found a white male with a skateboard had broken into their building early Sunday morning.
Blair then decided to follow the charges until he eventually catches up with the suspect.
There was a $10.02 charge at 7-Eleven, a $4.09 charge at Starbucks, a $40.00 charge at Seaside Fuel Depot, and a $87.00 charge at Chase Lounge which he said he's glad they at least left a tip. Other charges followed at Woody's BBQ, Ralphs, and Autozone while Blair filed an official report with the Santa Barbara Police Department and visited the local businesses asking for information.
On Tuesday evening, Blair was tipped off to a charge at the restaurant inside The Montecito Inn on Coast Village Road. With help from the manager and bartender, the suspect was caught after trying to run.
Santa Barbara Police officers were called to the scene where the suspect was arrested, where he apparently had a felony warrant from Los Angeles without bail.
"He tried to negotiate with me before PD got there to pay me off and let him go but I didn't go for it," said Blair while noticing the suspect's nice watch and Mercedes vehicle.
"It's a damn good story I think for alternative policing that I seem to have to always do to solve these crimes that go on," said Blair.