Identity Theft Case Expanding

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Gila County Sheriff's Detectives George Ratliff and Brian Havey continued to find more evidence in the identity theft operation discovered in Strawberry.

When GCSO deputies assisted federal marshals last week in serving a warrant at a home on Eagle Drive, they found electronic equipment used to manufacture fake identification cards and dozens of high-end furnishings and appliances purchased with stolen credit cards.

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Gila County Sheriff's Detectives George Ratliff and Brian Havey removed a storage locker full of furniture, tools, electronic equipment and other items that Kenneth Richardson and Connie Kriley bought with stolen credit cards and fake identification. Ratliff estimates there are approximately 30 victims in the case.

"I think we have 25 to 30 victims in the case," Ratliff said.

Kenneth James Richardson and his girlfriend, Connie Kriley, were allegedly using fake identification and stolen credit cards to buy luxury items such as solid oak furniture and designer handbags.

Approximately five grams of methamphetamine and ample drug paraphernalia were also in the home.

Parked outside was a specially-altered handicap minivan stolen from a disabled man in Scottsdale.

The federal warrant for Richardson was a probation violation, stemming from a mail fraud charge. He remains in federal prison in Florence.

Kriley had warrants out of Maricopa County and was also charged with possession of dangerous drugs for sale.

Kriley has been transferred to the Globe jail after detectives questioned her about her activities.

"We have her on video tape purchasing things from Sears," Ratliff said. "They have used stolen checks at Wal-Mart -- that's where they did their grocery shopping."

As detectives went back yet another time to the home, they found more items that were either reported stolen or purchased with stolen credit cards.

Detectives have connected Richardson and Kriley to at least three purse snatchings in the Valley. The two bought gift cards from different stores as a way to circumvent getting caught.

"They had a new microwave, a bread maker, a huge oak cabinet, new washer and dryer," Ratliff said. "We had to rent a storage locker and hire movers for all the stuff."

According to Ratliff, Kriley would produce a driver's license with another person's name and her picture on it.

"She would change the age, put her photo on there and use it," Ratliff said."They even had the holograms that you find on the new licenses."

Ratliff and Havey must now go through the storage locker, locate each victim, whether they are an individual, store or credit card company, and get them returned.

"Whatever items are left that we cannot match to a victim become the property of Gila County," Ratliff said. "They will be sold at our auction in Globe."

Ratliff said both are facing a multitude of charges in at least three law enforcement jurisdictions.

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