OREM — Police arrested a woman who they say was involved in an interstate crime spree using fake American Express Travelers Cheques.
The woman and a man visited Target stores in Utah earlier this week. After they passed the fake checks in Layton to buy gift cards, they went to the Target in Fort Union to buy merchandise, police say.
But when the woman showed up to the Target in Orem Thursday, store security was already looking for her.
“We knew it was probably only a matter of time until they came to our Target store here in Orem,” Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez said.
As the woman allegedly tried to pass a fake check, officers responded to the store. She tried to run, but was caught.
“In the female's purse was 10 more fraudulent American Express Travelers Cheques, so fortunately for us they only were able to hit the two stores that we know of right now. But there could have been more,” Martinez said.
LeQuana Dixon, 25, of New York, was arrested for investigation of possession of forged documents and passing of a fraudulent check. Bail was set Friday at $10,000. Prosecutors are concerned she could be a flight risk since she has no ties to Utah. Martinez said she could face charges not only in Utah County, but in Davis and Salt Lake counties as well.
“Quite the organized little ring that they’ve got going on,” Martinez said. “The majority of the time, we see them operating from outside of California. This is kind of the first time that we’ve seen as far east as New York, which is where our female suspect was from.”
Martinez said she flew into Utah on May 6 and met with an unidentified male. They allegedly drove around trying to pass these checks for cash and goods.
We know she is probably just the lower tier of this ring, but ultimately she should lead us to some of the more higher up folks.
–Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez
“We know she is probably just the lower tier of this ring, but ultimately she should lead us to some of the more higher up folks,” Martinez said.
The man who police believe she was working with got away.
“Our detectives are still following up with a couple of leads trying to find the man who was involved,” he said. “We're ultimately hopeful we will be able to identify him and get a warrant issued for his arrest.”
Police believe the man is now out of state.
Police say they were given a heads up about fraudulent checks being used at Target stores by the Utah Organized Retail Crimes Association, a group comprised of law enforcement and retailers’ lost prevention teams.
“We are getting email alerts and photos on a daily basis of organized crime rings that are hitting Utah at the time,” said Martinez, who is also part of this group. “It has been a very helpful tool, for not only us but the retailers. They can help us, and we can help them a lot quicker than we used to.”
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc