By TOM DIDDEL
Most Missoulians would consider spending $13,000 using credit cards an unbelievably bad financial decision. Such an extravagant shopping spree would likely leave most residents in financial ruin for years.
Now imagine if this shopping spree was charged to your credit cards by thieves. The nightmarish scenario would leave even the calmest person enraged.
Unfortunately, Americans find themselves facing this catastrophe more and more every year, and for a majority of citizens it can mean a long frustrating road to reclaim their stolen money and restore their credit rating.
This disastrous event unfolded for one unlucky Missoulian last weekend.
The credit cards were stolen Saturday from a car parked at the Peak Health and Wellness Center parking lot according to a KPAX.com news story. The thieves then used the credit cards to go on an expensive buying spree in various Missoula stores.
Most people think of credit card fraud being committed by high-tech thieves using the internet to buy stolen card numbers over the internet from some Eastern European country. However, this instance shows that credit card fraud is still happening through “smash and grab” techniques.
After snatching the cards from the victim’s car, the thieves went on an extravagant shopping spree.
Some of the purchases were obviously just an attempt to get the most out of the cards as quickly as possible; however, others seemed reminiscent of the old Wheel of Fortune in which winners were forced to spend their money on items they wouldn’t normally dream of buying. Squandering $1,300 dollars on sunglasses is just one example of their attempts to max out the cards.
Images of the two thieves were captured on surveillance cameras and are posted on KPAX.com’s website. Authorities reported that the two men recently attempted to use the cards in Butte, but the cards were declined.
Police are currently seeking leads and urge anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 406-721-4444. The suspects face 10 counts of forgery in the case and will likely not be donning their recently purchased eyewear once they have been taken into custody.
Each week, Tom Diddel recaps the week’s most talked-about story in Missoula. Visit the Make it Missoula News & Opinion section for more talk of the town.
Tom Diddel has lived in Missoula on and off for nearly thirty-eight years. He enjoys skiing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana and is currently working as a Freelance Writer and a Para-Educator.