Sunday, September 1, 2013

How We Brought Down an International Thief

I've always dreamed of being a super spy. CIA. FBI. I'm sure it's from watching shows like "Chuck", "Covert Affairs", "White Collar", etc. My husband has always dreamed of being a cop because of his love for the show "Third Watch". This week, we got the opportunity for one day to feel like super spies and took down an international criminal. No, seriously. We did.

It all started on Monday when we went to Santa Monica Pier and got a Mix-It-Up Slushie from one of the vendors. As he swiped our credit card, my husband and I noticed him do it two more times. We didn't say anything to each other but we both thought, "We'll keep an eye on our bill!" Sure enough, on Wednesday morning, I checked out our current bill online. To my (somewhat) surprise, I saw a $2,250 purchase for plane tickets from Israeli airlines and a $10 purchase on Travelocity. I woke up my husband and showed him right away.

The first thing we did was call the credit card company, cancel our card and tell them about the charges. We could've left it at that - we weren't going to be charged and they would begin their usual "investigation". However, my husband and I wanted this guy caught.

First, we called the Israeli Airlines at LAX. They weren't much help and couldn't give us any information. However, the next call Gwith made was to Travelocity. The lovely people there heard our story and after giving them our credit card information, sent us the itinerary of the thief, along with his name. To our surprise, he was catching the red eye from Tel Aviv airport and flying to Los Angeles. We later found out that this is very common: someone out here steals the card information and sells it on the black market. Travelocity, of course, cancelled the ticket on our behalf but did not alert the thief.

From there, we decided to call the airport in Tel Aviv. The woman on the phone looked up the reservation and told Gwith it had already been cancelled. However, when he told her the thief didn't know and was on his way to the airport now, she decided to put out an alert to capture the criminal.

Two hours later, Gwith and I were notified that the man had been caught at check-in.

Gwith and I have also contacted Santa Monica Pier about the man we know took our details in the first place. The manager said he'll be watching the cameras.

For one day, we felt like super spies...taking down a criminal all the way across the world! Years from now, we'll embellish upon the story, I'm sure, and by the time we have great-grandchildren, we'll tell them about the time we personally flew to Israel as civilians and tackled a thief and hauled him off to jail.

If your credit card details are stolen, I encourage you to follow up and look into it yourselves. The bank and credit card company have both told us how rare it is to find the thief. 

I bet this guy figured we'd see the bill after he was long gone. Bet he was surprised!