FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Police in Fort Collins announced Friday the arrest of eight people who they say were at the center of two related credit card theft sprees targeting communities in the Denver metro area to Wyoming. Two people remain on the run.
Police said the suspects broke into cars - often breaking windows or door locks - parked at natural areas and parks up and down the Front Range and took purses, wallets, and bags containing credit cards.
The alleged thieves would then immediately use the stolen cards at local retailers to purchase high-value electronics and gift cards, according to a release from the Fort Collins Police Department.
Police recently arrested the following six people for their alleged involvement in the vehicle break-ins that began in the fall of 2018:
- Marco Pena-Otarola, age 32.
- Cesar Pena-Castro, age 37.
- Francisco Moreno-Diaz, age 23.
- Rodrigo Beroiza-Placencia, age 25.
- Guillermo Rivera-Seura, age 25.
- Ornella Fuentealba-Mancilla, age 19.
Around the same time, police said several Fort Collins restaurants were being targeted by credit card thieves linked to the crime spree ring. Fort Collins detectives said the suspects stole credit cards directly from victims dining in local restaurants.
Mircko Arnechino-Carvajal, 21, and Michell Rodriguez-Alcaino, 19, were booked on charges related to the restaurant thefts. Police said Fuentealba-Mancilla, accused of the vehicle break-ins, assisted Arnechino-Carvajal and Rodriguez-Alcaino.
All eight suspects are facing multiple felony counts, including money laundering and identity theft.
Investigators are looking for two additional suspects captured on surveillance video and are asking for the public’s help identifying them.
"A lot of collaborative work went into solving these cases plaguing our community," Fort Collins Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said in a release. "I want to commend our Property Crimes Unit and loss prevention partners at local businesses. Thanks to their combined efforts, Fort Collins is a safer place."
Police said drivers can lessen the likelihood of being targeted by always making sure they don't leave important items in the car, especially in plain sight. They also recommend double-checking that the car windows are rolled up all the way and that doors are locked.
Anyone with additional information about these incidents or suspects should contact the Fort Collins Police Property Crime Unit at 970-416-2275. People may also contact Crime Stoppers of Larimer County at 970-221-6868 or www.stopcriminals.org.