A series of locker break-ins at a Baltimore hospital has led police to charge a man with making fake IDs and selling them to hundreds of people who went on shopping sprees with credit cards stolen from the lockers.
Baltimore police and the U.S. Secret Service raided the suspect's Southwest Baltimore house yesterday and said they seized computer equipment used to create fake driver's licenses and birth certificates from all 50 states.
Sgt. Jim Rood of the Northwestern District's major crime unit called the quality of the fake cards "excellent. Unless you are in law enforcement, you'd never know the difference in a million years."
Police said they have not determined how extensive an operation it was because many victims have not been found and stores are having a difficult time tracing merchandise bought with the credit cards.
The man arrested in yesterday's raid was identified as Troy Brown, 24, of the 100 block of Allendale St., south of Edmondson Avenue.
He was charged by federal authorities with fraud. The number of counts has yet to be determined as authorities try to determine how many victims there are. Brown was being questioned last night at city police headquarters.
Rood said the investigation started about four months ago with complaints that credit cards were being stolen from lockers at Children's Hospital and Center for Reconstructive Surgery on Greenspring Avenue.
Detectives got a break when a surveillance camera captured a man using one of the stolen cards at a Baltimore County store. Rood said the card was flagged as stolen, but the man using it had a driver's license with a matching name.
Police arrested the man, who led them to more credit card thefts from lockers at area Bally's Health Clubs and, eventually, to the house in Southwest Baltimore, which authorities raided about 10: 30 a.m.
Detectives uncovered shopping sprees at several stores in White Marsh and Towson, and a 55-inch television set bought at a local Best Buy store using a stolen credit card. The purchaser gave the set to the suspect, police said, as payment for false identification cards.
Rood said a birth certificate and driver's license could also be used to buy guns and possibly avoid background checks designed to prevent felons from obtaining firearms. He said no guns have been linked to the ring but that police are searching records.
Pub Date: 2/24/99