Stolen refrigerators help uncover credit card theft ring

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SEATTLE - A Seattle appliance store helped police uncover a credit card theft ring.

 

The owner of Albert Lee Appliance in Seattle noticed a person had used stolen credit cards to buy high-end refrigerators.

 

Albert Lee showed KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter David Ham the types of refrigerators from his stores that were purchased with the stolen credit cards.

 

“They want French door on the top, pull-out on the bottom,” said Lee. “Again, and again, and again.”

 

Since December, Lee said his company lost seven refrigerators worth nearly $3,000 each.

 

Lee had a hunch someone could be selling the refrigerators on Craigslist. He was right.

 

“What made it stand out is we had three of the exact same models that were stolen,” said Lee.

 

Employees at the store used a disposable cellphone to call the number on the ad and set up a buy at a parking lot in Northgate.  Seattle police were also there.

 

When two men showed up, police got the fridge and took the men into custody.

 

Police also went to a Federal Way apartment, where more stolen electronics were recovered.

 

A woman at the apartment said her ex-husband was one of the two men taken into custody.

 

“No, we didn’t have any stolen appliances here,” said the woman. “I didn’t know anything until the police showed up because if I would have known, believe me, I would have thrown all of them under the bus.”

 

The Seattle Police Department told KIRO 7 the men were released because the refrigerators are connected to a much larger crime ring involving other stolen credit cards.

 

“For us, if there’s a bigger ring and our stuff doesn’t get recovered, well worth the cost if the ring gets busted,” said Lee.

 

Some of the stolen credit cards are from as far away as North Carolina and Canada.

 

The Seattle Police Department is still working on piecing it all together.