MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS -- They work fast, spend fast and are still on the streets. Police in Middleburg Heights have released details from 22 cases of debit card theft, first reported by Channel 3 Consumer Reporter Maureen Kyle last month.
All the reports released today involve customers with Charter One debit cards, but there are more cases outside the city and involving other banks.
Police have turned the investigation over to the Secret Service in Cleveland. The 22 reports detail fraudulent charges all occurring in mid- to late-April.
Some victims were robbed of only a few hundred dollars from their accounts, while others lost more than $4,000.
Thieves made purchases not only in Ohio but in Georgia, New York and New Jersey. They bought designer jeans, perfumes, dined at sports bars and pizzerias, hit grocery stores, pharmacies, big box stores and plenty of athletic stores, like Footlocker.
They spent money on auto supplies, gasoline, office supplies and even paid for taxi rides.
Charter One tells Channel 3 it is crediting its customers' accounts as quickly as possible, which is good news, but it certainly doesn't put cardholders completely at ease.
It's important to note that debit cards don't carry the same guaranteed protection as credit cards.
Often times, if a problem isn't reported within 2 days of discovery, a cardholder can be liable for the first $500 in losses.
Charter One tells Channel 3 it is refunding all its customers as soon as losses are reported.