Boardman police tackle cash card scam suspects at Walmart
Boardman Police are trying to determine if two men and a juvenile arrested for an alleged cash card scam at the local Walmart may have committed similar crimes elsewhere in Ohio.
Several officers were called Thursday night after store security reported suspicious activity at one of the registers.
According to a police report, one of the men used a fake cash card to make a purchase then began to run when police showed up.
Officers say they tackled and handcuffed two 18-year-olds, Jaheim Person Ferguson and Terrance Rimmer.
Police found a seventeen-year-old boy hiding in a locked bathroom stall.
Store security had received a tip that men fitting the suspect’s descriptions were believed to have been involved in thefts in other parts of Ohio.
According to the police report, the alleged scam involved buying merchandise with a fake cash card, then returning the items for cash refunds at a Walmart at another location.
The report says the 17-year-old admitted to police that the two 18-year-olds had convinced him to take part in the alleged scam.
Police say they found $946 on the two men. All three suspects are from Flint, Michigan.
The teen was taken to the Juvenile Justice Center. The two men were booked into the County Jail on charges of telecommunications fraud, possessing criminal tools, resisting arrest, obstructing official business, theft, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The two men are scheduled to appear in Boardman Court on Tuesday.
While this incident remains under investigation, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants said Organized Retail Crime incidents are a growing problem in Ohio and across state lines.
"It's an organized group of individuals, probably traveling from another state, probably have a route kind of outline of retailers they're going to try to hit," Alex Beohnke of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants said, "They find ways to exploit loopholes and security systems and pos systems. It's pretty astounding..."
He said these crimes impact not only the safety of the retailers and consumers but the finances too.
"You know, nationwide, we're talking between 50 and 60 billion [dollars] of loss to stores."