More than sixty identities were stolen from Florida all the way to California, and detectives say four people are to blame.
"I was so mad at the time, but I can't do nothing about it, because I don't know who they were,” Jason Stonerock, one of the victims, said.
He watched his credit plummet after his identity was stolen. Detectives arrested Edouard Fleurant and Carlos Milan for the crimes, and they’re still searching for Karla Jazmin Hernandez-Romero and Edouard’s brother Marvin Fleruant.
“These folks aren't stupid,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “They're criminals, but they're not stupid."
Judd said it was an elaborate scheme. The group used the identities they'd stolen to open up contracts on cell phones at Walmart and Sam's Club stores all over Florida. In all, Judd said they stole more than $60,000 worth of phones and tried to steal about $60,000 more.
"I've seen these cases over and over and over again,” he explained. “I suggest to you that this is just the tip of the iceberg,” indicating the group might be involved in other similar schemes.
That's why detectives are hoping to hear from anyone who might've bought a phone from this group.
“Call us,” Judd said. “You can even call us on the stolen phone. We've got a deal for you. We want you as a witness, as opposed to a suspect.”
The sheriff said investigators don't know how the thieves got their hands on so many stolen identities, but it's important to take basic steps to protect yours.
“A home shredder is a wonderful thing. You need to have a locking mailbox,” he explained.
Judd also said you need to be careful who you give personal information to. You should even check to make sure your doctor and dentist have secure databases.
As for Stonerock, it took six months, but his credit is back to normal. He's just glad to see the people suspected of putting him in that position are getting caught.
“We plan to send them to state prison, where they don't need a cell phone,” Judd said.
The cases are being prosecuted by the Florida Attorney General’s Office, because they span several counties.