Crime

Couple arrested at Paso JCPenney in connection with a string of credit card frauds

How to protect yourself from credit card fraud

Ed Fritz from the Boise Police Department gives tips on how to keep your bank accounts tied to debit and credit cards from getting drained.
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Ed Fritz from the Boise Police Department gives tips on how to keep your bank accounts tied to debit and credit cards from getting drained.

A man and a woman from Coalinga were arrested in Paso Robles on Tuesday after police said they tried to use a stolen credit card to make a purchase at JCPenney — the latest in a series of similar frauds, according to a Facebook post from the Paso Robles Police Department.

The investigation into the frauds began on Saturday, when police went to the Kohl’s on Niblick Road for reports of a couple who tried to make a purchase with a stolen credit card, according to the post.

The couple’s transaction was denied and they left the store in a red car, police said.

An investigation showed that similar frauds had been committed at other retailers in San Luis Obispo County, and the car the suspects had been using was stolen out of Coalinga, according to the post.

On Tuesday, police found the stolen car parked outside JCPenney. Inside the store, the man and the woman allegedly tried to make another purchase with a stolen credit card, and their transaction was denied, police said.

The couple then left the store and tried to drive away, but were quickly stopped by police, according to the post.

When police searched the car, they said they found multiple credit cards, checks, driver’s licenses, stolen mail and drug paraphernalia.

The driver of the car, identified by police as 36-year-old Sara Dugan, and her passenger, 30-year-old Pedro Murillo, were arrested and taken to San Luis Obispo County Jail, police said.

Dugan was arrested on suspicion of multiple charges, including felony auto theft, felony receiving stolen property, fraudulently using a credit card, conspiracy to defraud a person and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to police and jail records. She was being held Wednesday in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Murillo was arrested on suspicion of multiple charges, including felony auto theft, making or passing a fake check and grand theft of property valued over $950, according to jail records. He was being held Wednesday in lieu of $55,000 bail.

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Gabby Ferreira is a breaking news and general assignment reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. A native of Houston, Texas, she was a reporter in Tucson, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Palm Springs, California, before moving to San Luis Obispo County in 2016.
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