3 accused of credit-card fraud stemming from eatery charges|[2/4/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 4, 2005

The arrests of three women Thursday and today may have put an end to credit card fraud that was victimizing patrons of a local restaurant.

Daquilla McDaniel, 21, and Shequila Evans, 18, both of Apt. 8B of 1950 Hope St,. were arrested Thursday, said Capt. Mark Culbertson, chief of detectives for the Vicksburg Police Department. Tammy Stewart, 21, 150 Mop Lane, turned herself in at the police station just after 9 this morning.

All were charged with credit card fraud and were being held in lieu of $10,000 bond each. They were to make an initial appearance in Vicksburg Municipal Court today.

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Culbertson said the investigation began in December after patrons of Garfield’s Restaurant and Pub in Pemberton Square mall began reporting to police unauthorized charges on their credit and debit cards. Those reports led to the arrest of Jeffrey King, 18, 109 Fleetwood Drive, on Jan. 21 on charges of possession of a fraudulent identification and fraudulently obtaining goods.

As the investigation progressed, Culbertson said, all leads pointed at something amiss at Garfield’s since all the victims reported the suspicious transactions taking place after they had used their credit or debit cards at the restaurant.

“What they would do was take the credit card in the back to run it. They would then write down the name and other information from the card,” Culbertson said.

He said King and Evans were employed at Garfield’s. The four allegedly used customers’ cards to order plasma screen televisions, top-of-the-line computers and other high-dollar merchandise over the phone or on the Internet, using the victims’ names and credit card information.

In making the arrests of McDaniel and Evans Thursday, police served three search warrants and seized about $12,000 worth of merchandise, Culbertson said.

“Some credit card statements are just coming in and anyone who notices a suspicious charge, especially if they had used that card at Garfield’s, should call the police department at 636-2511,” Culbertson said, adding the investigation is continuing.

“We expect to make more arrests in the next few days and to recover more merchandise,” he said.

He said the department is working with the security department with Dell computers. “They want their stuff back,” he said.

David Day, manager of Garfield’s in Vicksburg, said he and other restaurant personnel cooperated with the police department in the investigation.

“We did all we could to help the police get these (people) off the streets,” Day said.