Credit cards

Stolen credit cards allegedly used in fraudulent purchases

Two men are suspected of using credit cards stolen from cars parked in a park in Whatcom County to make more than $3,000 in fraudulent purchases from Bellingham retailers.

Bellingham Police booked Michael Ronald Ackerman, 31, into Whatcom County Jail on August 31 on charges of first-degree identity theft, second-degree robbery and five counts of second-degree possession degree of stolen goods. Jail records show he is being held in lieu of $125,000 bond.

A second suspect was named in the probable cause affidavit filed against Ackerman, according to Whatcom County Superior Court documents, but court records do not yet show that probable cause has been filed against the man for the incident. ‘incident. He was also not put in prison.

Whatcom County Sheriff’s Deputies were first dispatched around 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20 to Lake Whatcom Park, after two victims reported their vehicles being broken into while in the park, according to court documents. Both victims reported that, among other things, their wallets and credit cards were stolen from inside their vehicles.

After the vehicle break-ins, the two victims reported fraudulent use of their credit cards at stores in the Bellingham area, documents show. Records allegedly showed that a total of nine fraudulent purchases totaling $3,024.59 were made with the stolen credit cards between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. on August 20 at four different retailers.

Deputies contacted the stores and three of the four helped them locate surveillance video and photos of the men suspected of making the fraudulent purchases, whom deputies were able to identify as Ackerman and the second suspect, documents show. The Fourth Store could not locate surveillance video showing Ackerman or the second suspect in the story, or search for transaction records from August 20, but employees told deputies they knew the two suspects and that they had encountered several problems with them in the past.

Surveillance video from one store even showed Ackerman and the second suspect wearing clothes they had fraudulently purchased from another store, according to documents.

Ackerman was arrested on August 31 by Bellingham police on suspicion of three domestic violence charges in an unrelated incident, in which he allegedly kicked the door of a woman’s home, allegedly argued with her, chased her down the street and was seen putting her in a headlock in the middle of the street, documents show.

David Rasbach joined the Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.