The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has arrested five St. Petersburg residents in a scheme to steal nearly $11,000 merchandise from a Sarasota store on Monday.
The group was trying to use a RushCard Visa card to make the sizable purchase at Look at Me Now Urban Wear on 17th Street. When the transaction could not be processed as a debit, it was also attempted as a credit. When that also failed the female suspect pretended to call the bank, and the alleged bank representative gave the clerk permission to run the card “offline.” The clerk then recalled a scam alert that detailed a similar crime and stalled the suspects until deputies arrived. Responding deputies found two men in a waiting vehicle, one at the store entrance and two inside. They also determined that the person pretending to be the bank official was actually one of the men in the car.
The five suspects, Jermell Ford, Wanda Douglass, Terron Gland, DeJuan Poole and Gavarian Sampson, were charged with Scheme to Defraud. Poole faces one additional charge for Possession of Marijuana. All of the suspects have prior arrests in Pinellas County for a range of crimes, including Aggravated Battery, Grand Theft and Burglary.
Anyone with information on these suspects or their activities, or who believes their business may have been victimized in a similar scheme, is encouraged to call Criminal Investigations at 941-861-4900.