Credit card thieves hit trailheads
By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer
Following a resurgence of credit card thefts from cars
parked at trailheads, valley police are advising outdoor enthusiasts to
leave their wallets at home.
An apparently professional gang began hitting the area
with similar thefts last fall. None were reported over the winter, but
police have received four complaints this month about thefts from cars at
the Lake Creek, Prairie Creek and Trail Creek parking lots, as well as at
Boundary campground on Trail Creek Road.
Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling reported in October
that the thefts were apparently being carried out by a gang run by
Russians and Romanians operating among Las Vegas, San Francisco and
Seattle. He said the thieves took stolen credit cards to Las Vegas, where
they used them to obtain cash at casinos.
"These guys are professionals," said Sun Valley
police Corporal Kim Orchard this week. "Whether people lock their
cars or not, these people have the tools to open them up."
Orchard said the thieves take only one or two credit
cards, then lock the cars again.
"People don’t know they’re stolen until the bank
calls and says, ‘Your card’s maxed out. What are you doing?’"
He said the thieves operate in groups of two or more
people, with one acting as lookout while others break into cars. He
suggested that people parking at trailheads be alert for anyone not
appearing to be there for recreational purposes.
"The only way we’re going to stop this is through
education and to have everyone watching," he said.
The Ketchum Ranger District posted signs at popular local
trailheads over the weekend warning people not to leave valuables in their