Identity theft ring found; three arrested in Durham

Staff WriterJanuary 1, 2006 

An identity theft ring was uncovered in the Residence Inn hotel Saturday morning, police said.

At 10:30 a.m., officers found three men in a room using a computer to print counterfeit checks, modeled after genuine checks they had stolen, said Lt. L.L. Clyburn of the Durham police. Also in the room were marijuana and gift cards that may or may not be counterfeit, Clyburn said Saturday night.

The three suspects -- Haydn Thomas, 31; Jamel Ellerbee, 20; and Jarrod Evans, 25 -- were arrested. They face charges of obtaining property by false pretenses and accessing computers for the purpose of furthering a fraudulent act and a misdemeanor for the marijuana found in the room, Clyburn said.

"The investigation is continuing, and additional charges are pending," she said. "The pending charges will probably fall under fraud."

She said police files show all three men have lived in Durham at some point in their lives, but their current addresses remain unknown.

"From what I can understand, they rented one room," Clyburn added. "[The Criminal Investigations Division] was contacted in reference to fraud because the room rented out was rented with a stolen MasterCard."

Durham police arrived at Residence Inn after a 911 call from an unknown source. The reason for the original call is also not known.

The uniform patrol who arrived at the scene then notified the CID, and Investigator Chris Chappell was assigned to the case.

"[Chappell] has been working that case pretty much all day, and we'll continue to work it," Clyburn said Saturday.

Staff writer Meiling Arounnarath can be reached at 932-2004 or meiling.arounnarath@

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