Two Bay Area women were arrested by Placer County Sheriff’s deputies Tuesday as they attempted to leave the area after purchasing thousands of dollars of gift cards with counterfeit credit cards. Monique Smith, 38, of Brentwood, and Bailey Lucas, 21, of Hayward, were arrested near Interstate 80 and Highway 65 Tuesday afternoon by deputies who were watching the busy roadways for the suspected getaway car. Detective Jim Hudson with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office says local merchants contacted deputy’s by personal cell phone to catch the suspects.
“We have a really good relationship with our stores here. A lot of our patrol deputies give the stores their own personal cell phone numbers so it speeds things up sometimes. A security guard called one of our deputies straight to the cell phone. They were able to get the information fast enough and set up, basically, a perimeter. We know that when these happen, most people come from Sacramento to commit the crime. So we kind of put the defense system in and basically watch the freeway and make the stop on them. That’s basically what happened here.”
The Investigation has revealed that the women visited Target stores in Lincoln, Roseville and Auburn that day, purchasing VISA gift cards with counterfeit credit cards. Security officers at the Auburn Target store became suspicious and began watching Lucas and also notified patrol deputies. When Lucas’s transaction did not go through, the woman grabbed her belongings and ran from the store. Security officers got the getaway car’s description and it was broadcast to deputies. Minutes later, both women were arrested. A search of the vehicle revealed more than 70 VISA gift cards. The investigation is continuing and all victims whose credit cards were skimmed are being contacted. It appears that all victims are from Florida, detectives said. As always, citizens are reminded to never give their credit card numbers to anyone except a reputable business.