OKLAHOMA CITY — Jose Vargas and his family enjoyed the July 4 holiday at White Water Bay.
But when they got to their car, they realized crooks had been having some fun of their own, breaking in and stealing credit cards and a cell phone.
“Everything was just ransacked,” Vargas said. “(I was) confused at first, then angry, and then from there, (I thought) ‘I need to start calling people.’”
Vargas called his bank to cancel the stolen credit cards.
But he was told they had already been used by the crooks three times, totaling $150 in illegal purchases at area stores.
The bank showed him when and where those cards were used; Vargas went to find out why those stores accepted them.
“They didn’t check I.D., of course,” he said. “I mean, for me it’s very frustrating because I would say 90 percent of the time, they I.D. me on my own card.”
However, those stores did share with him surveillance video of the exact time when those credit cards were used.
Vargas said the same two women can be seen in all the videos.
He felt he had caught the crooks on his own.
“I was like, wow,” he said. “She’s just right there, nonchalant on video camera, you know, just using the card as if it was her own card.”
Police said crime victims are sometimes helped faster by banks and stores than investigators in these types of crimes because of their tremendous caseload
Vargas’ efforts will help them.
“Having the video to where our officers can view it without having to go out and get it themselves obviously does simplify a few things for investigators,” Oklahoma City Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said.
“We wanted to help out,” Vargas said. “That was really what it came down to, and of course, we want a little bit of justice for ourselves.”
Wardlow said an investigator is now on the case.
Vargas said his credit card company will reimburse him for those purchases.
He also contacted the person who bought his stolen phone on the Craigslist website and said they also recognized the women in the videos as the people who sold them the phone.